I think we can all agree that extended winters are the suckiest. Especially when it becomes virtually impossible to leave the house. As a native California girl, I’m used to having sun-kissed skin all year-round. So, that pretty much makes me allergic to the cold. In order to cope, I developed what I like to call, Operation Sleeping Beauty (OSB), a weekly, nighttime skincare ritual that not only helps me sleep better, but it also leaves my skin looking supple and fresh like morning dew in the springtime. So until those wretched winter icicles melt away, here’s a breakdown of exactly what to do to create some OSB magic:
Step 1: Prep the tub
I start by lighting a few scented scented soy candles and drawing myself a lavender-rose detox bath using a few household staples plus oils I got from the health food store.
The salt and baking soda relax the muscles and draw out toxins, while lavender is known to soothe the senses and prepare the body for a sound sleep. Adding rose oil is totally optional since it is a bit costly, but I read somewhere that Cleopatra seduced her lovers by bathing in rose-infused water. I figure if it worked for her, it can’t hurt to give it a shot. I mean, at this point, I welcome anything that can possibly help my lack of a sex life.
Step 2: Wash your faceWhile the tub fills up, I slather on my most coveted facial cleansing oil by Amore Pacific. This stuff is a bit on the pricy side so I try to reserve it for special occasions -- you know weddings, date nights, OSB, and of course, in times of the Snowpocalypse. It's such a moisture-rich dream product that it's worth the splurge.
Before I discovered Amore Pacific, I stumbled upon the magical power of cleansing oil by complete accident one night. After washing with my regular face soap, I grabbed a cotton ball and some Trader Joe’s jojoba oil to remove my leftover eye makeup. I expected to see the residual eyeliner, but after a few swipes around the rest of my face, I was absolutely horrified to discover that some serious excess dirt had apparently been hiding out down in my pores. So, whenever I’m feeling conservative about using my Amore, I swipe my face with a cotton ball and a light, natural oil such as coconut or vitamin E instead.
Step 3: It’s bathtime! Next, I slide into the tub for a 15 to 30 minute soak and some deep breathing. While I’m in there, I give my feet a good scrub with my pumice stone to prep them for all the moisturizing they’re gonna get later. Side note: Although I’m totally into meditating outside of the tub, the first time I took one of these baths I was pleasantly surprised that I could literally feel my stress float away, while the deep breathing felt entirely like my body’s intuitive response to such aromatic awesomeness. To me that was a pretty clear indication that detox baths rock.
Step 4: Moisturize all over
After toweling off, I moisturize my face with a heavy cream, like Dermalogica Intensive Moisture Balance or Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream (if I used a natural oil to cleanse my face in step two instead of Amore, then I skip the face cream). Next I lotion my body all over like I would on any other night, except that I add an extra layer of Carol’s Daughter Almond Cookie Body and Bath Oil to my feet, knees, elbows and hands. Again, any natural oil will also work wonders as a substitute. And sometimes if my skin is extra dry and I need something more substantial, raw shea butter or my recent personal favorite, avocado butter are two great alternatives to the oils.
Step 5: Put on some comfy PJsOnce I throw on my satin nightshirt and fluff my satin pillows I’m just about ready to get under the covers. I’ve noticed that satin is much better than cotton when it comes to allowing the skin to retain moisture, plus it feels extra sleek and sensuous to slide around on in bed. I’m not really a wear socks at night person, but if dry soles are an issue, I will put some on for a few hours to help lock in moisture.
Step 6: Fire up the humidifierNow, the most important part of all of this pomp and circumstance is another happy accident that I discovered as a result of trying to alleviate my dry sinuses. It is the genius invention, the humidifier. I fill mine up with rose or lavender infused water and put it on the dresser next to my bed. Not only does the aroma dance around the room to induce the sweetest of dreams, the moisture and warm air creates my own slightly misty, sauna style sleeping chamber.
When I wake up, I feel rested and my skin has, what we say in the south, a gaw-gous angelic glow that even the goddesses Chloris and Aphrodite would envy.
Your turn: What nighttime or winter rituals do you have that you swear by?