Hope you’re feeling slightly more perky than me today. We are currently trying to coax Maurice into better sleeping habits. Sleep training, so it’s called. We’ve been in training now for a week. Maurice will be a sleep athlete when we’re done…While there has definitely, undeniably, been progress – the little man now feels much happier in his cot and seems to understand the concept of sleep – as the phrase goes, it’s always darkest before the dawn, it was bound to get worse before it got better. He is still waking up to 5 times a night, and because we’re dealing with it differently and trying to encourage him to self settle rather than totally rely on cuddles or milk to get him back into slumber, the amount of sleep that I am getting is even less than it used to be… So, I’m feeling slightly less than perky right now. But, as the world continues to turn and you can’t just curl up into a ball and hibernate during the day as we go through this Olympic training regime, I’ve been thinking about my favourite ways of restoring energy and lustre to body and skin.
I’m slightly vain…or, let me rephrase that, I used to be indulgently vain pre-baby, and care a lot about skincare and the state of my face, and lavish attention over my skin daily with a wonderfully pampering regime of potions and oils. I didn’t realise at the time how much maintenance I offered myself every day, until I no longer did it. Now I simply don’t seem to have the time or mental attention to make sure I do the same thing every day, sometimes I just can’t be bothered if it’s 5 minutes that could be spent sleeping, or doing something else a bit more important, or it just seems like too much effort generally. But it has recently seemed that my skin is crying out for help as it can’t carry on alone any more with no sleep and as time creeps on, bringing us into a new category of age-related skin woes. And, sleepless baby or no, I need to give it some love.
My favourite secret weapon is facial oil. It’s amazing for all skin types, and doesn’t make your skin oily, it just plumps it up and recharges it like a magic elixir. Works best to be slathered on overnight (and hope for a few hours’ sleep for it to get to work), but a few drops underneath your daily moisturiser is like adding a pop of youthfulness and perk by dint of its hint of sheen (glow, not shine).
I’ve tried many facial oils in my time, and as far as I’m concerned the oil itself is much of a muchness (but I do have my favourites, which I will list below), and although it sometimes feels fabulous to spend big bucks, which in itself offers you the placebo effect of feeling firmer and more radiant, you could actually use olive or vitamin e oil from a capsule with the same effect, as long as you get the massaging techniques right. Have a look at http://www.beautybible.com/libc08.htm for some facial massage techniques that really work. Make sure you take 5 minutes to really massage deeply into the skin, get stuck in and apply pressure deeply underneath the skin, to get the blood flowing, reduce puffiness and encourage your circulation to get going once more and give you that beautiful glow that no amount of shimmery make up can really mimic.
Oils (and anything applied to the skin really) are immediately soaked up and pretty much go straight into your blood stream, so it’s really best to make sure you limit the amount of toxins you use. Go organic, if at all possible, or read the ingredients list and if you need a degree in chemistry to decipher it, perhaps best move along and find something slightly kinder for your toxic load.
So much of it is about the ritual of giving yourself a bit of me -time, massage and relaxy time in that few minutes to yourself in the bathroom. The fragrances often help to transport you to a spa-like landscape in your mind. You can almost feel the tropical breeze and the coconut trees swaying. Here are my favourites:
1. John Masters Organics Pomegranate Facial Oil. A blend of organic plant and essential oils which nourish dry thirsty skin. Smells amazing, and is a delight to massage in at the end of a weary day when you know you might not look forward to getting much sleep again that night… Skin actually looks quite happy and rested the next morning when I use this, even though it must be faking it…
2. Neals Yard Rejuvenating Frankincense facial oil. Frankincense is one of those magic ingredients where little mini wizards work on your skin overnight, replacing your regular skin with a silky smooth younger more radiant version. Look for it as an ingredient in facial oils.
3. Angela Langford Repair and Renew Q10 and vitamin E facial oil. I LOVE this, it’s all handmade by one person in a small company http://www.angelalangford.com/Natural-Face-Products/Natural-Face-Oils/repair-and-renew.html, and it is a pleasure to use, a really subtle natural fragrance, the oil sinks into the skin like a dream and you can just tell your skin is going “aaaahhhhhhhhh”. It is just brilliant. I actually do look like I’ve had a good night’s sleep when I use this morning and night. Which, believe me, is a pretty huge feat.
4. Organic Pharmacy Rosehip seed serum. I’ve been using organic pharmacy products for nearly 10 years since it was a single shop on the Kings Road, and sadly their fame and global popularity has somewhat priced me out of their market now, and I would probably use the whole range but simply can’t afford it. This serum is always a winner though, and way way cheaper than the (admittedly amazing) antioxidant serum that they produce. This is great for skin that’s had a bit too much sun in its life and might be looking slightly lined, freckly and age-spotty now (raising my hand sheepishly), and also wonderful for any other skin woes such as scars, stretch marks, eczema and psoriasis due to its massive essential fatty acids content. Rosehip seed or any rose-derived oil such as rosa mosqueta is a gold-medal winning skin champion. Seek it out.
5. The Sanctuary Therapist’s Secret facial oil. This isn’t organic although has fewer “nasties” in it than most other non-natural blends. Lovely smell, really great feel when massaged in. It’s a winner.
Enough oily chat. Another perker-upper to add to your daily routine is dry body brushing. Brush your skin from the toes to your chest, up the legs, and all around your back and shoulders. Always brush towards the heart. This is wonderful for moving your chi, your energy life force, around the body and getting you into gear to face the world. I am doing it every morning and wow, it makes such a difference. I enter the bathroom a sluggish clomping elephant (sorry elephants), and exit a bounding gazelle.
Hope you all have a wonderful day!