Duly applied rosy foundation. Lush lipstick applied. Hair zhuzh-ed… But I tell you, if I had a few nights ‘
Shitty sleep, all the best shows in the world can’t disguise the fact that I look starved: puffy, pale eyes with zero zing factor. There are good reasons why a decent kip has long been called “beauty sleep.”
Its meaning is deeper. When you leave a rushed day to play on the bouncy castle of dreams, your skin enters recovery mode, without having to deal with assaults such as UV light. He can then focus on cell repair and renewal; while increased blood flow means nutrients are delivered more efficiently. In short, it’s the rush hour to put yourself in beauty.
What’s particularly helpful is that the products you’ve chosen help you find a little more peace and quiet to enhance your natural sleep potential, something that many beauty brands are now focusing on.
But first, engage in a relaxation ritual. Research shows that a warm bath at night can help you fall asleep faster. Indeed, a drop in core temperature is part of the body’s natural process of preparing for sleep. Although a hot bath may seem counterproductive because it increases core temperature, it causes heat loss from peripheral areas (hands and feet).
The key is timing – the optimal bath time is around 90 minutes before bedtime, to allow plenty of time to cool off.
A hot shower is also helpful, but baths tend to relax you in a different way, partly because you’re lying down. Try adding something soothing to the water. Feather & Down, a brand dedicated to nighttime wellbeing, has created Sweet Dreams Breathe Well Bath Essence (£7, featheranddown.com), which contains essential oils of eucalyptus, peppermint and tea tree, as well as lavender and chamomile. It encourages me to take nice slow breaths, slow breaths.
Follow with the brand’s Cooling Body Lotion (£8) – look, this isn’t a serious chilling formula, but it can kick start the cooling process with a subtle feeling of relaxation, especially welcome if you’re into peri- or menopausal and the thought of rubbing on warming oil would have you running for the hills. Naked.
For overnight care, This Works offers a line called Deep Sleep. Its new Overnight Cleanser (£14, thisworks.com), with oatmeal amino acids, provides a soothing scent that’s easy to do and prolonged cleansing – massage in, wipe off but don’t rinse. The new Body Whip (£25), with hemp seed extract and magnesium, also contains the range’s functional Deep Sleep scent to help with comfort and calm. The retro stars on the packaging remind me of my favorite childhood program, Bewitched – no scientific evidence that it helps you sleep, but the memory gives me a goodnight hug.
Your skin is receptive to treatments at night, but it also loses more water. A good moisturizer is therefore essential. Templespa Repose Relaxing Night Cream (£42, templespa.com) is rich in plant extracts and antioxidants. With hops, valerian, chamomile and frankincense – and a cashmere texture – it helps soothe while smoothing.
There has also been an increase in overnight masks – I like to think of these treats twice a week as comforting blankets in a bottle. Emma Lewisham’s Supernatural Sleep Mask (£70, emmalewisham.co.uk) is highly concentrated with natural actives to help boost skin cell repair.
And before your head hits the pillow, hit the pillow with an aromatic spray. The Neom Perfect Night Sleep Pillow Mist (from £8, neomorganics.com) is lovely. Nocturnal night.
This week, I’m mostly…
Put the ritz on with Emolyne Metamorphosis Velvet Semi-Matte Lipstick (£23, emolyne.com). Not only is it creamy but lightweight, you press a button on the end of the shimmering tube and the lipstick shoots out ready to use. Very sharp glamour.
Psst! Sharing a secret… We Two Prescriptives Intimate Wash (£18, wetwolondon.com), created in collaboration with a gynecologist, is a milk balm for ‘out there’ that may feel softer and milder than many soaps and ordinary shower gels.
Buying gifts from The White Company. The brand offers many stocking fillers, such as Scented Oils for a Tenner (thewhitecompany.com). I love the Huile Parfumée d’Hiver, which you can sprinkle on potpourri, a home accessory that’s making a comeback, you don’t know.
Read last week’s column: It’s never too late to undo the damage done to your hands