With the festive season seeming more hectic than ever, it can feel hard to keep hanging on until the finish line. Here we’ve put together a series of skincare recommendations, sleep advice and self-care rituals to help you navigate the silly season and fake looking rested, even if you’re feeling the farthest thing from it.
Chances are you’re feeling utterly spent as you read this story. Financial pressures, school holidays and finishing work for the year, combined with the organisation of Christmas – which largely falls on women – can leave us feeling incredibly stressed and beyond frazzled. Often when we’re stressed, quality sleep is the first thing to be affected. Getting sufficient sleep each night is a crucial part of living a healthy life and when it’s out of whack, it can severely impact our general wellbeing and cause a raft of physical and mental issues. And unfortunately, they don’t call it “beauty sleep” for nothing.
A 2013 Karolinska Institute study showed that the faces of sleep-deprived individuals were perceived as having more hanging eyelids, redder, more swollen eyes, darker circles, more fine lines and wrinkles, and drooping mouth corners. After seeing ourselves in the mirror after a long night of tossing and turning, this doesn’t feel so groundbreaking, right? But a 2012 Estee Lauder Companies-funded study by University Hospitals Case Medical Centre also showed that after clinical trials, people who don’t get enough sleep at night are more likely to have poorer skin health and skin that ages faster. Poor sleepers showed a higher rate of water loss in the skin, which is an indication that the skin’s barrier may be damaged, and that they may be holding onto inflammation a lot longer, which in turn means skin doesn’t restore as efficiently.
If you’re suffering, the good news is – depending on the severity and cause of your sleep issues – there are many highly effective things that can help improve your slumber. Sleep psychologist Dan Ford recommends watching your alcohol intake, especially at this time of year, as booze suppresses dream sleep. Also known as REM, this is an important restorative stage that our bodies need and a few too many glasses of bubbles means that we spend less time here. As alcohol is metabolised, sleep becomes disturbed and fragmented in the second half of the night. Even a small amount of alcohol from late afternoon onward will impact sleep quality.
He also says that around seven hours a night is sufficient and that getting up at the same time every day is more important than hitting the hay at the same time every night. This consistent amount of wakefulness allows sleepiness to build up naturally over the day. Get out into the sunlight early and exercise then if you can – both are not only good for mental health but also for creating energy early to encourage sleep later on. Limit your caffeine intake and taper your water consumption at the tail end of the day, and also minimise light and noise in your bedroom. Perhaps one that hits home the most is to shut the devices down well before bed. Searching and social media algorithms are designed to activate the brain’s reward system, which also promotes wakefulness and delays sleep onset.
A tired, puffy face does very well with a splash of cold water first thing in the morning. Not only does it feel invigorating, it increases blood flow and tightens pores. Introducing a gua sha stone or jade or quartz roller into your morning regime is another excellent way to awaken skin, release tension and decrease puffiness. Using these cool massage stones with oil is an ancient practice that is equally as welcome in today’s busy world. Make it part of a mindful morning ritual, which helps move energy flow, improves circulation and leaves skin looking brighter and more sculpted. Apply your favourite oil or serum first, then roll or move from the inside out in an upwards, lifting motion.
Keep your favourite face mist in the fridge during summer to give hot, thirsty skin a nourishing drink as and when required. A wake-up spritz is also a great way to refresh your makeup when going to an evening event. The easiest and oldest trick in the book for making you look more awake is to line the inner rim of your eyes with white liner. This opens them up and makes them pop, especially when paired with some black mascara. A slick of bright red lipstick is another quick and easy way to look instantly polished when you’re in a rush.
Emma Hobson, Dermalogica Asia Pacific’s Director of Education, recently shared that psychodermatology is one of the skincare industry’s biggest trends. This is understanding the intrinsic connection between the brain, body and skin, and the holistic link between mental and physical health. No matter your tolerance for woo-woo, you do have control over your thoughts and the power to start your day with a good intention. Use the time that you spend doing your skincare regime each morning to express gratitude and set yourself up for the day. When things feel like they’re getting on top of you or that you’re spiralling out of control with everything that needs to be done, make a concerted effort to nurture the mind/wellness connection. This in turn encourages your largest organ to be happier and healthier.
Fitbit Sense 2
This latest Fitbit comes with six months of Fitbit Premium, which, among many other wellness features, looks beyond your nightly slumber and analyses it over a month-long period. This deep dives and identifies your sleep habits and trends and then helps you to improve your sleep quality over time.
Hydro Pure Tinted Serum Jane Iredale
Few of us have time to work magic with concealer, plus contouring and highlighting every morning to wake our faces up, but this new tinted serum helps to refresh, plump, blur lines and even out skin tone in one easy, natural-looking step.
Thea Matcha Latte
As well as its health benefits and high antioxidant content, matcha is a fantastic coffee alternative for when you’re having trouble with sleep. Although it still contains caffeine, matcha has significantly less. This blend is a beautiful way to elevate your morning routine and is infused with organic coconut milk and vanilla.
Lady Jayne Salon Pro Rechargeable Straightening Brush
This incredibly handy heated tool is the perfect way to blitz humidity and create a polished finish to your hair in the morning in five seconds flat.
OtherNature Focus Elementals
Perfect for when you have a million things on your to do list and little time to tick them all off, this new locally made supplement is designed to lift brain fog and improve your cognition naturally with lion’s mane mushroom. It’s formulated to heighten mental clarity and focus while also supporting long-term cognitive health.
Revlon Jade Facial Roller
This roller helps to massage and de-puff your face, plus help products penetrate deeper.