It’s 2018, and everyone’s talking about mental health. In a good way. It’s in the news, it’s on Twitter, and now even your mum knows what an SSRI is. For the first time, people are feeling empowered to open up and speak out about their own mental health. So fuck it, I will too. But with beauty thrown in. Obviously. Not just because I am, quite clearly, obsessed with beauty, but also because using it as a form of self care has helped a lot with my own mental health. Is there anything more mindful than staring into a mirror stuck with your own thoughts and a beauty blender for an hour and a half? Exactly.
There are actually a million ways different elements of beauty can be really useful, but let’s start at the very beginning, shall we? Let’s start with skincare. A very good place to start. When I’m having a particularly shit time of it all, looking after myself properly is usually the first thing to go out the window. There are lots of reasons for this, the main one being that I’m usually just exhausted. But waking up in yesterday’s makeup is only gonna make you feel more shit, ya know? So I’ve tried to come up with a self care skincare routine to stick to when things are rough. It’s not exhaustive, it’s far from perfect, but each element helps with my own self care in one way or another.
Self Care Skincare Step 1: Cleanse, then cleanse again
Read any guide to self care, and they’ll suggest washing your face. It’s super refreshing, and you’re never gonna feel great with a layer of grease on your skin. After all, a cleansed face is a cleansed mind. Or something. I’m a big fan of the double cleanse. First remove any makeup or grime, then cleanse again to really get into those pores and get a deeper clean. At the moment, I’m loving the Make-Up Be Gone Cleansing Balm from Trilogy for my first cleanse. It’s made up of super natural ingredients like coconut oil and mango seed butter, so as you can imagine it smells amazing, and it’s kind on the skin – which is exactly what you want for a self care sesh.
Next, I use the Purity 3-in-1 Cleanser from Philosophy, the perfect all rounder. It gently cleanses, tones and also lightly moisturises. I should mention here that if you can’t be arsed with the whole self care skincare routine but still need some self care skincare, this is ideal as a one-stop multitasker. If you’re feeling fancy, I would definitely recommend using a face mask after your cleanse. Do some research and choose one that works for you. I love the Sand & Sky Pink Clay Mask for my combination-to-oily skin. Using a face mask a couple times a week is ultimate, indulgent, extra behaviour and is ideal for taking some time to look after yourself. If you wanna go all-out, use the 10-15 minutes of mask time to listen to a podcast or even meditate with Headspace instead of scrolling through Insta, so you can clear your head a little at the same time.
Self Care Skincare Step 2: Tone and treat
Using a toner after you cleanse is super important in any skincare routine. Not only does it rebalance the skin, but it also helps to prep for moisturisers and serums. When I’m trying to be kind to myself, I like to use a toner that’s kind to my skin – and this is especially important after using a face mask. It’s kind of hard to chill when your skin feels like it’s burning off. This means gentler ingredients, rather than harsh acids or exfoliants. Pixi Rose Tonic is perfect for this – it’s so gentle on your skin but effectively balances pH, minimises redness and rehydrates.
Next up in our self care skincare routine: TREAT yo self with a TREATment (or serum). (See what I did there). Work out what the bane of your skin life is, then pick a treatment or serum to target that problem. For me, that’s oily skin and acne, so I use the Congested Skin Serum from Balance Me. It’s 99% natural and totally gentle, but gets the job done. My skin is left feeling rebalanced and significantly less oily. Because sometimes, self care isn’t just about being indulgent for the sake of it; it’s about doing something that’s ultimately gonna benefit you and make you feel GOOD.
Self Care Skincare Step 3: Hydrate and nourish
The final step is to moisturise – but as this is self care skincare, we’re gonna be extra and use three different products. We’ll start with eyes. If your mental health is acting up, it’s probably gonna affect your sleep. For example, anxiety can keep you up at night, or make you so exhausted you could sleep all day. Or both! Anxiety is so fun. Anyway. I’ve only just gotten into eye treatments (because I’m 23 and didn’t realise I needed one yet), but The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG has made a noticeable difference to my puffiness and dark circles from sleepless nights. It’s essentially COFFEE for your EYES. Need I say more.
Next up, the Dr. Botanicals Regenerating Sleeping Mask is an absolute treat for the skin. Full of natural goodness and antioxidants, it nourishes and replenishes skin while you sleep. For me, this is an absolute must when I’m feeling shit, because a) it pushes me to go to sleep at a reasonable time, and b) it makes me excited to wake up in the morning and check out my FLAWLESS glowing complexion. Win win. I then finish the whole routine with good old Dr. Paw Paw Original Clear Balm on my lips. Chapped lips are such a symptom of being run down for me, so keeping them hydrated is super important. Plus this stuff just feels so good (and it’s pretty easy on the bank balance, too).
Self care skincare probably isn’t for everyone. Ultimately, what makes you feel good is entirely up to you. If you’re more of a bar of soap and a flannel kinda person, this might just sound like a faff. But for me, having a go-to routine that I can rely on or fall back on when times are rough is super helpful. Self care is fundamentally about making yourself feel a bit more human by treating and looking after yourself. To me, that means extra af skincare. What works for you?