At the end of a busy week, I think it’s important to take some time out for ourselves to relax and wind-down. Taking a few hours out of your weekend for some me-time can be a really great way to rejuvenate your mind and body and prepare for the week ahead. Busy lifestyles often mean that we fail to make ourselves a priority or feel selfish for doing so; however, remember that taking care of yourself allows you to take better care of those around you and to tackle anything life throws your way with a calmer, more relaxed attitude.
Self-care can take many different forms, from getting an early night, to exercising more regularly or eating healthier foods. I personally like to take some time-out (usually on Sunday’s!) to indulge in some at-home pampering. I notice an improvement in my overall physical and mental health when I regularly take time out to reduce my stress and it really is true what they say – a Sunday well spent brings a week of content! So why not follow these tips below to nourish your mind and body and give yourself a much-needed break.
Body brushing is a great way to detoxify your body. Skin is our body’s largest organ, so it is vital we take good care of it. Dry skin brushing can help to eliminate toxins that build up in our body every day by stimulating the lymphatic and drainage system. Look for a brush with soft, natural bristles, such as from The Body Shop Round Brush or the Mama Mio Body Brush. Begin brushing at your feet and work your way up your body in long, sweeping motions, always brushing towards your heart. For harder to reach areas such as your back, look for brushes with a longer handle (or asking a loving friend or partner to help!) Not only does skin brushing remove dead skin cells, making skin smoother and firmer, it also increases blood flow and circulation which reduces the appearance of cellulite. The benefits are seemingly endless, so it’s a great addition to your routine – even if only once or twice a week. I try to dry skin brush for a quick minute or two before hopping into the shower in the mornings, and spend a bit longer on it once a week before a long soak in the bath. Combine dry-skin brushing with a full-body exfoliation for the silkiest, smooth skin. My favorites are Jo Malone Vitamin E Scrub and Malie Organics Coconut Vanilla Body Polish. Look for exfoliating scrubs containing moisturizing oils to inject some moisture and hydration back into the skin, whilst removing the dead skin cells.
After a week of washing, heat, styling and (if you’re anything like me) copious amounts of dry-shampoo, come the weekend, it’s probably time to nurse it back to health. At least once a week, I try to use some reparative, strengthening products on my hair to prevent dryness and split-ends. I‘ve also recently forayed into the world of purifying scalp treatments and am loving the results. Scalp scrubs make your scalp feel amazing and really do transform your hair by stimulating hair follicles and encouraging new growth, healing and strengthening damaged strands and leaving you with glossy, soft, smooth hair. Christophe Robin’s Sea Salt scrub is brilliant to really cleanse and purify your scalp, removing any build-up of dead skin cells and product residue. Another product I’ve heard great things about is the Grow Gorgeous Back into the roots Stimulating Scalp Masque which I’ve just ordered and can’t wait to use. I really work the scrubs into my scalp for a few minutes to create a thick lather, before rinsing. After washing, I’ll slather on a reparative hair mask such as Olaplex No.3 Treatment or Kerastase Masquintense and leave it on for 10 - 15 minutes whilst I get on with other in-shower/bath time tasks. Before drying, I’ll smooth a few pumps of hair oil through the lengths, concentrating on the ends to really lock in some moisture and protect my hair from any future heat damage. My current faves are Moroccan Oil Light and Kerastase Elixir Ultime. I try to limit heat damage by patting off excess water with a towel, then leaving my hair to mostly air-dry before giving it a quick blast with the hair dryer to completely dry it and inject some volume.
Magnesium Salts Bath
If you follow me on Instagram (@skincarecoveteur), you’ll no doubt have seen me raving about magnesium salts on many occasions. Magnesium is the second most abundant element in our bodies; however, the vast majority of us are magnesium deficient. Magnesium has many brilliant benefits, including relieving muscular tension, reducing stress and inflammation, supporting joints and promoting detoxification, to name just a few. When magnesium is absorbed into the skin, it also improves circulation and heart health and enhances sleep. If anything helps you sleep then I’m all for it, and magnesium really does work! Aside from taking supplements, soaking in a magnesium salts bath is a really easy (and relaxing!) way to top up your magnesium levels. With the skin being the body’s largest organ, it has an amazing ability to absorb, filter toxins and deliver nutrients to the body. Add 1-3 cups of magnesium salts with a few drops of an essential oil (my go-to’s are Lavender, Neroli or Bergamot for their intoxicating scent and relaxing properties) to a bath of hot water and soak for at least 20 minutes. You could even light some candles for some extra indulgence! The best magnesium salts I’ve come across, both for value and effectiveness are Westlab Magnesium Flakes and Betteryou Magnesium range.
Moisturizing is essential to replenish lost moisture from the skin, especially in Winter when the heating and dry air can contribute to dry, flaky skin. Moisturizing can help to keep skin hydrated and nourished, improve skin texture and ensure skin stays smooth and supple all year round. Apply when your skin is still slightly damp for increased absorption, sealing in every last bit of moisture, paying particular attention to the areas that tend to become dry/rough, such as elbows and knees. If you suffer from Keratosis Pilaris (small, red bumps on the skin), look for moisturizers with AHA’s and BHA’s, such as Paula’s Choice 2% Skin Perfecting Lotion or Ameliorate Skin Smoothing Body Lotion. For super quick moisturizing, sprays such as Vaseline Total Moisture Spray or E45 Fast Acting 24hr Spray Moisturizer are perfect – just spray and go!
Face masks are a super quick and easy way to treat your skin and can offer a wide range of benefits in one easy application. Whether you have a special event coming up where you want your skin to be in tip-top condition, or whether you just want that enviable skin-glow, face masks are one of the easiest ways to achieve and maintain healthy, happy skin. As well as being brilliant for your skin, applying face masks can also be very soothing and de-stressing so are perfect for some at home pampering. You can de-stress and relax during the process and know you’re doing your skin a huge favor at the same time. The best thing is - it can all be done within a matter of minutes! Another benefit of face masks it that there are so many to choose from, meaning you can tailor what mask you use to suit your skins exact needs at that time. Whether it’s for a quick-fix or a more intense treatment; there’s a mask fit for purpose. For deep cleansing/de-congesting NIOD Flavanone Mud is excellent. It offers all the de-congesting benefits of regular clay-based masks, without any of the associated dryness or irritation. To nourish and treat your skin, I reach for Leahlani Mermaid Mask. This dark green, dense mask is full to the brim with nutrients, Raw Honey, Spirulina, Chlorella and skin-friendly essential oils to feed your skin, boost circulation and purify your complexion, leaving it soft, smooth and glowing. To brighten, renew and resurface your skin, look for masks containing AHA’s such as Oskia Renaissance Mask. This mask is designed to increase cell turnover to boost radiance and alleviate congestion. It contains papaya enzymes and lactic acid to slough away dead skin cells and reveal luminous, glowing skin underneath. The beauty about face masks is that you can use more than one mask at a time on different areas of your skin, controlling exactly where and how much to apply. For example, if you have an oily T-Zone but drier cheeks, you may opt for a de-congesting mask for your forehead, nose and chin and a more nourishing mask for your cheeks. The possibilities are endless!
Get an early night!
Sleep is one of the most important factors for your emotional and physical well-being. Lack of sleep can have a huge impact on your ability to function in day-to-day life, including handling stress and busy lifestyles mean that sleep can often be elusive; however, getting enough sleep is vital to our overall health. If, like me, you struggle to snatch an undisturbed 6 hours a night during the week, set yourself a goal to go to bed early one night a week to catch up on some good quality sleep. I love to use aromatherapy diffusers like these from Neal’s Yard with different blends of essential oils to help me relax and fall asleep. My favorite oils to use are lavender, clary-sage, bergamot or neroli. Just add 5-10 drops to your diffuser and let the beautiful aroma soothe you to sleep. Silk-eye masks are also brilliant to block out any light, creating the ideal environment for a good night’s sleep. You can find them in abundance on Amazon. A particularly difficult task for me (being Instagram obsessed) but one that really does help, is putting down your phone 30 mins to an hour before you go to bed to allow your brain time to switch off. Reading a good book instead really can make all the difference. Also, avoid caffeine like the plague if you want to get any shut-eye! I’m not a coffee drinker, so I opt for green or herbal tea instead, such as Pukka Night Time Tea.