I might be a spiritual guide, meditation teacher and tarot reader, but I know just how hard it can be to make time for self-care. With work deadlines, new TV to binge and hectic social lives (even if they're mainly via outside spaces and FaceTime right now), slotting in practices like journaling, meditation or even a bath can feel tricky.
So I decided to hack the system. When I'm not chatting all things self-care with my clients, I'm also a beauty writer. That means spending a lot of time applying things to my face. I realised that while I'm doing this, I might as well add a dose of mysticism and mindfulness to my skin routine to get benefits for both my mind and skin. It’s not all hocus-pocus, either, as studies looking at the mind-skin connection suggest that neuro-inflammatory conditions like acne, psoriasis and dermatitis can be aggravated or triggered by stress.
I've had clients come to me for stress-reducing tips and skin meditations to add to their routines as they work toward accepting the skin they're in. If you too want to make your skin routine more mindful, then keep scrolling for how you can make the time you spend in front of the mirror really count.
Before you start your skincare routine, take a moment to set an intention and have a think about how you're feeling right now. If you're stressed out, then your intention might be to feel calmer. If you've looked in the mirror and your inner critic has made an appearance, then you might want to focus on acceptance and kindness.
You can't change what happens outside of you, but you can certainly change what happens inside. Decide how you want your routine to make you feel, and keep this intention in mind as you start to apply your products.
Start a skin journal to keep track of your feelings and thoughts around your appearance and to chart any changes you're noticing in your skin. Journalling is also a really powerful practice for daily intention setting.
Choose an archetype for the day by pulling a tarot or affirmation card. Use it as inspiration for how you want to feel and you can even choose your makeup products based on the energy of the card you pull.
MAKE IT WITCHY
Create a mini beauty altar around your sink or wherever you do your skincare routine. If you're feeling extra fancy or the mirror feels triggering to you, then you can take your post-cleanse products into your bedroom and do your routine there.
You can light a candle, get some essential oils involved, smoke-cleanse with herbs like rosemary and add some crystals to your space. Rose quartz, malachite and jade are ones that are well worth adding to your bathroom cabinet. If there's a specific intention that you're working with, you can also use the crystal that corresponds with it.
The idea is to fill your space with tools that feel significant to you to turn your routine into more of a ritual and get all of those stress-reducing benefits.
This blend of calming essential oils will fill your space with scent, and utilising the element of fire is a must for mystics. Doing your beauty routine by candlelight can also reduce some of the self-critical thoughts and skin examining that can happen with harsh lighting.
I've made my way through several tins of this, as I use it for smoke-cleansing. Many popular herbs such as white sage and palo santo are either severely over-harvested or appropriate sacred practices. So if you want to clear stagnant energy, light one of these, allow the smoke to pass through your space and set an intention for any energy that's not in your highest and best to leave your space.
SLOW IT DOWN
We've all been there, rushing through our routine like we're trying to get a personal best. While there are skin benefits to waiting for each product to absorb and dry before moving on to the next one, slowing it down is also great for your mind.
As you apply your skincare or makeup, let the to-do list that you're replaying in your mind slip away and try to be present. Treat each product like it's the very first time you're using it. Notice how it smells, pay attention to the packaging, the consistency, how it feels on your skin. Take it all in.
When your mind starts to wander from the task at hand, you can find an anchor to keep you in the moment. When a thought comes in, switch it out to either repeating an affirmation based on your intention, such as "I am safe, and I am well," or focus on your breath.
These intention bracelets will give you a dose of nostalgia but also remind you of the intention you set when you see it throughout the day.
BREATHE IT OUT
There's a reason everyone in well-being uses the word breath in every other sentence. If there's anything you want to keep in your self-care kit, this is it, and all you need is yourself.
As you make your way through your skin routine, keep checking in with your breath. For a simple breathing exercise, breathe in for four counts, hold for four counts, breathe out for four counts and hold again for four counts (if you're pregnant refrain from holding the breath).
You can also try repeating the word in as you inhale and the word out as you exhale, breathing in through your nose and out through your nose while you repeat the words in your mind. This is a great one if you need some extra focus.
Need a reminder to slow down? This hourglass is perfect for timing mini meditations and moments of stillness. It's also probably residing on your favourite interior designer's mood board.
MASSAGE AND MEDITATE
When's the last time you actually spent some quality time with your skin? Actually taking your time to notice how each product feels on your skin and just noticing how your skin feels underneath your fingertips.
As you apply your face oil (again, you can do this outside of the bathroom if you have more time), you're going to really pay attention to your skin as you massage it in.
Pour a few drops of oil into the palm of your hand, feel its texture, temperature, and weight and breathe in the scent. Then close your eyes and pat the oil in. As you massage the oil into your skin, you can spend some time in gratitude, thanking your skin for protecting you, for being the largest organ in your body, for being a barrier, repairing and regenerating itself and allowing you to touch and feel the beautiful things around you.
Keep following the breathing exercises as you massage in the oil, and you can also repeat some more affirmations, like "I deeply and completely accept myself."
Finding an enjoyable oil that works for skin that's prone to breakouts isn't always easy. Enter Good Skin. With a blend of soothing essential oils and prebiotics, it's a great one to use for facial massages.