Too exhausted to do anything but swipe a wipe over your face before falling into bed at night? If so, you could be missing a trick – or six. Our cells regenerate more efficiently overnight, promoting recovery, repair and rebuilding. Making time for a bedtime beauty ritual or two will not only encourage a sounder night’s sleep – providing your body with the best possible conditions in which to do its thing – but maximise the impact of any products you apply.
So stop telling yourself it’s a luxury, because making time for yourself is downright essential. Make time for these 6 skin and hair care rituals in your night time routine and you can look forward to waking up to glowing skin and shiny hair every single day.
1. The Bathing Beauty
Who doesn’t enjoy a good soak before bed? Maximise your time in the tub with our handy hints:
While it’s running…
Try dry body brushing, working in firm, gentle strokes or small circles from your feet and hands towards your chest. Dry body brushing stimulates circulation (promoting the flow of oxygen and nutrients around the body), encourages lymphatic drainage (goodbye, cellulite!) and sloughs off dead skin cells (hello, glow!).
Short Body Brush With Natural Bristles, £6.39, Hydrea London
Just before you get in…
You may have spent the day attempting to avoid oil and salt but when it comes to your skin care routine, they’re not the enemy, we promise you. Adding a handful of Epsom or Himalayan pink salt to your bath water will stimulate circulation, flush out toxins and promote hydration. Better yet, “replenishing the skin with minerals can help restart the signalling processes that slow down with age,” says Isabelle Afriat, who works at Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories.
Add a few drops of lavender and chamomile essential oils and a good glug of jojoba oil to your bath water to ease tension, enhance relaxation and promote radiance and hydration.
In the tub…
Dry, lacklustre locks? The heat from a hot, steamy bath will open up your hair cuticles, allowing treatments to penetrate more deeply. So why not make the most of it? Apply an intensive conditioning treatment or hair mask, gently comb through, then wrap your hair in a towel or foil shower cap and luxuriate for as long as you like before rinsing out. If you have less time to spare, try a VO5 Hot Oil treatment – simply drop the unopened tube in the bath before massaging into hair lengths. Leave it on for 1 minute before rinsing and shampooing as normal.
Give Me Moisture Hot Oil Treatment (4x15ml), £4, VO5
After your bath…
Apply an intensive foot and hand cream to seal in all that precious moisture, then pop on some beauty socks and gloves to lock it in overnight.
Bamboo Spa Gloves, £5.50, Boots Botanics
2. The Double Cleanse
Thought cleansing twice a day would be more than enough for anyone? Think again. Skincare experts now swear by the double cleansing method. Here’s how to do it:
- Use a cleansing oil to remove make-up (oil is king when it comes to cutting through wax and powder residues).
- Follow up with a gentle cream cleanser to eradicate every last trace of dirt, grime and grease. Elizabeth Arden’s anti-ageing Ceramide skincare range is designed to repair the skin barrier as it cleanses.
3. The Exfoliation
Fail to exfoliate and your skincare products – no matter how hi-tech or pricey – will fail to deliver, since they won’t be able to penetrate that layer of dead skin cells.
- Try using a Clarisonic cleansing device, muslin cloth or, if you have more sensitive skin, a konjac sponge, to remove your daily cleanser, gently exfoliating as you go.
- Once a week, use an AHA-based cleanser, peel or mask for a deeper exfoliation. Sensitive skin? REN’s Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask provides a natural, more gentle alternative.
4. The Steam
A good steam will open pores, release impurities and allow any products you apply afterwards to penetrate more deeply. For best results, do it once or twice a week.
- Drape a towel over your head like a tent, then hold your head over a bowl of steaming water for 5-15 minutes. Add a few drops of essential oil to turbocharge your treatment. Rose and jasmine oil are said to have anti-ageing benefits, whilst geranium and lavender oils are thought to soothe sensitive skin. Some fans even add tea to the mix! Rooibos is said to be anti-ageing, whilst green tea is thought to reduce redness.
- Don’t have 15 minutes? Don’t despair. Simply soak a flannel in water, microwave for 20 seconds, then gently pat against your face to loosen oil, dirt, sweat and bacteria. If that’s still too much hassle, a steamy bath or shower will help!
5. Yoga – For Your Face
Facial oils, serums and moisturisers are all well and good, but, according to the experts, simply patting them on won’t cut it. However, combining product application with a 5-minute mini-facial or ‘face yoga’ session will promote product absorption, improve circulation, facilitate the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the skin, encourage collagen production and lymphatic drainage, flush out toxins and relieve tension in the facial muscles, helping to prevent wrinkles and encourage a restful night’s sleep. Interested? Try this simple 8-step routine:
- Gently massage your chosen oil, serum, moisturiser or mask between the palms of your hands for a few seconds to warm it through.
- Beginning under the chin, gently glide your hands up towards your temples, using gentle, firm pressure and smooth, flowing strokes.
- Gently pinch the thumb and index finger of each hand along the length of your eyebrows, working from the inner corners out. Repeat 5 times.
- Work around the eye sockets using your middle fingers, gently rotating fingertips on the spot as you go, with very light pressure. Repeat 5 times.
- Tackle crow’s feet, eye bags and puffiness with this exercise from facial yoga expert Danielle Collins: Press your middle fingers together at the inner corners of your eyebrows. Forming a V-shape with each hand, apply pressure to the outside corners of the eyebrows with your index fingers. Look up towards the ceiling and raise your lower eyelids up into a squint. Relax and repeat 6 times. Squeeze your eyes shut for 10 seconds before moving on.
- Place three fingers at either side of your mouth, pointing in towards your nose (index fingers just above the nostrils, middle fingers just above the top lip and ring fingers just below the bottom lip). Slowly draw your fingers outwards across your cheeks, as if drawing invisible cat’s whiskers on yourself. Relax and repeat 5 times.
- Place both hands on your forehead, fingers pointing in towards each other and spread from the eyebrows to the hairline. Gently sweep your fingers out across your forehead, applying light pressure to pull the skin taught. Relax and repeat 10 times. You can also try this exercise with your hands in fists to help relieve tension.
- Place your thumbs just under the inner corners of your brows. Slowly lean forward so that your head is resting on the fleshy pads of your thumbs. Relax for 10 seconds or so, taking slow, deep breaths.
6. The Hair Rescue Ritual
No time to wash your hair in the morning? No worries. You can still treat yourself to an overnight treatment thanks to this unique mask from cult Scandi haircare brand Sachajuan. Packed with fortifying sea algae and mineral extracts, it promises to boost moisture, shine, strength and elasticity overnight – without leaving you or your sheets a greasy mess. “Guaranteed mermaid hair”? Well, who could argue with that?
Overnight Hair Repair, £35, Sachajuan
Maintain your luscious locks from night to night by sleeping on a silk or satin pillowcase – or in a silk or satin headscarf – to minimise breakage and frizz.