How are you doing these days? And don’t answer quickly – think about your mental space, your skin, your body…
Mental and physical health are tightly intertwined, one supports the other and things like stress and anxiety tend to make guest appearances on our skin. Halfway into the pandemic, I noticed my skin began to take a toll: It has not seen much sun or felt much fresh air in a while and was visibly affected by the fluctuating stress. It was time to make a change, or rather introduce some new products and routines to ease the growing dullness in complexion.
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The daily routine boost
To boost the tainted complexion with vitamin C and lessen the dark circles under the eyes, by recommendation and with extensive research, my daily beauty regime increased by two new products: The Ordinary’s 100% L-Ascorbic Acid Powder and Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG 4.0. The powder (which comes at the shy cost of $5.80) is mixed into your daily moisturizer to add Vitamin C and over time even out skin tone and reduce dullness. The Caffeine Solution is a very light-textured formula that when applied a couple of times daily reduces puffiness and the appearance of eye contour pigmentation. I did also get the C25, concentrated vitamin C booster (which you can see in the image) but haven’t tried it yet – trying to not over-treat the skin.
Disclaimer: Make sure the products are suitable for your skin by doing a bit of research and testing on small patches of skin.
We are all different so what works for me may not work for you.
At-home spa days
Sunday spa days are not just about masks and baths. It’s a relaxing ritual during which I try to step away from technology, turn on the humidifier, enjoy stillness, and the sound of water in the warm tub. I still very much miss being able to visit a proper spa but these in-between self-care hours at home are a nice way to break up the WFH routine that feels like a very small hamster wheel. So let’s break out of it at least once a month for a few tranquil hours.
Step 1: Rejuvenate with a face mask
My go-to face mask is one I received through Causebox: Cosmedix Glow Bamboo Brightening Mask* which consistently made my skin feel smooth and refreshed. Eventually, however, I ran out of this liquid treasure and went looking into getting a new batch. Being a fairly small American company Cosmedix* does not ship to Canada but I was hooked and had it shipped to a friend in the States who then re-rooted my package to Toronto. I know, it’s a chore, but for me, it was worth it. My reorder also had the Clear Deep Cleansing Mask* and Correct Rapid Relief Acne Treatment* which I am madly in love with right now. The online shop often offers a free bonus product with purchase, in full size, so one of my masks ended up being free.
But let’s talk proudly Canadian 🍁
OKOKO Cosmétiques is a Canadian company with a focus on creating high-quality, plant-based skincare using certified-organic ingredients and high-performance botanicals. One of their award-winning products that I just got introduced to is Beauté Majestique Cleanser. This is a daily cleanser created to strip away impurities and “neutralize surface pollutants”. The cleanser can also be used as an exfoliator and even a moisturizing mask – you choose!
Province Apothecary line, made specifically for sensitive skin with natural organic ingredients, has a range of lovely products suitable for a good spa day. The mask I am currently testing out is Regenerating Exfoliator + Resurfacing Mask which “works to gently exfoliate and hydrate your skin” with the help of 6 raw organic ingredients.
Bonus: If you enjoy facial steams Klei Beauty has a fantastic collection of botanical steams – this is therapy 😊
Step 2: Have a healing bath
Find that bath bomb you were gifted for Christmas, make some bubbles to slowly soften your skin (try Klei coconut bubble bath soak), light some candles, and let your mind drift into a morning forest, to the lake, or wherever your mind feels most at peace.
This is also a great time to exfoliate your entire body with something like the True Moringa Rejuvenating Body Polish, made with an aromatic blend of Nicaraguan coffee beans, paired with a Bushbalm scrub for the bikini line. Bushbalm has quickly become one of my favourite Canadian companies. Based in Ottawa, this team makes all-natural scrubs and oils tailored to the most sensitive skin parts prone to ingrown hair and other uncomfortable bumps.
If you’re feeling fancy, bring a glass of crisp white wine into this mix 🥂
Step 3: Rehydrate the full-body skin
Don’t know about you but my life is never complete without a good moisturizer so let’s look at some alternative, natural options:
OKOKO has a lovely facial serum for that post-bath skin, Les 16 PRÉCIEUX™, made to protect and reinforce skin’s moisture barrier, or the Sublime Balm, an all-natural moisturizer that can also be used as a day/night balm and under your primer or as a cleanser (use tips here).
For sensitive body areas, armpits, and bikini lines (as well as dark spots) my go-to is the Bushbalm line of body oils. Paired with the previously mentioned scrub these will help make those sensitive skin areas smooth, prevent/treat ingrown hair, and even lighten some dark spots on your face. The two in the image are Nude Ingrown Treatment Oil and Scented Ingrown Treatment Oil (the scent is very subtle and nice).
For full-body hydration there is also Province Apothecary’s Radiant Bath + Body Oil – a fast-absorbent oil treatment that works on improving skin’s elasticity over time and will leave you feeling refreshed and radiant 🧖♀️.
Other notes & thoughts
Some of us born in the ’90 have sacrificed our eyebrows to fashion and have not been able to recover since. Mine were not terrible but with all the bushy eyebrows coming back in style I decided to regrow some of that sacrificed brow line. After solid 6 months of twice-a-day use of Eyelash Growth Serum I’m happy to report some of those brows did grow back, so it’s definitely worth a try.
Having acne-prone skin means you’re always in danger, especially if you like to rest your head in your hands when trying to stay engaged in yet another Zoom meeting. The products that have been doing a good job in keeping most of that in check for me are the Clinique Clear Skin System, Clarifying Lotion, and Cleansing Foam specifically, I find their moisturizers a bit too light and runny and have been using Lancôme since the ripe age of 16.
Would love to know how you treat yourself, your mind, and body – share some of your favourite routines and products in the comments below 😌
In the gear bag: Fujifilm X-T100 with an XF50mmF2 R WR lens.