Tuesday, April 19, 2016

My 8 Weird (and a Little Extreme) Beauty Habits

Not clickbait, I promise. I have it on good authority that these are actually weird.
(Plus the next weird beauty thing I'm going to try!) 

Two of my habits:  My Daiso silicone "over mask" to use with Korean beauty sheet masks, white cotton gloves for sleeping with treatment on my hands, and fingerless gloves I wear to work to keep my hands warm, and keep hand cream working longer.

TL;DR Takeways:

  • My beauty routines improve my health, improve my sleep, save money, and make the products I use work better.
  • Many of my beauty routines are Asian-inspired.
  • Amazon.com probably owns my soul.

1. I sleep on the floor.  This did not start out as a beauty habit, but a health habit recommended by a trainer I respect, Katy Bowman. Read more about her sleep habits here: https://nutritiousmovement.com/cleaning-up-my-sleep/

Vixen sleeps with  more padding on the floor than I do.

Sleeping on the floor helped relieve my back and hip pain, and helped me sleep more deeply, but I didn't expect any other benefits. The nightly tingling and numbness in my hands and feet stopped as soon as I started sleeping on the floor. The circles under my eyes also lightened up. Whether that was because I was sleeping deeper, if not more hours, or whether it was the increased circulation, I have no idea. But sleeping on the floor continues to have that effect. (NOTE: Like any new habit, this is something to work up to slowly, if you want to try it out. Start by sleeping only an hour or two, or taking short naps, on the floor or other hard surface, before trying to sleep the whole night.)

2. I wear gloves to bed, and often to work.  In my family, we all have paper-thin skin, and knobbly, veiny, hands. It's in the genes, as is skin discoloration. Last year, I remembered to take care of my face with sunscreen while I trained outside, but I forgot use sunscreen on my hands. I had scaly skin and sunspots by the end of summer to prove it. 

Then, when my Multiple Sclerosis symptoms increased, my hands would only stop hurting when I kept them warm. That made me think I could knock out two birds with one stone. While I warmed my hands by wearing gloves, I also lotioned up and took care of the sunspots and dry skin. Now I often wear gloves to bed to help my hand cream work better, and use fingerless gloves while I work at the computer.
Thin, lightweight cotton gloves for sleeping - http://amzn.com/B01BOG6RE6. These are also thin enough to wear under work gloves when working outside.

Fingerless acrylic blend gloves for work: http://amzn.com/B01BOG6RE6

 3. I wear a (silicone) mask over my creamy (non-setting) masks and my Korean sheet masks.

Daiso Japan Reusable Silicon Mask Cover - for use over sheet or cream masks.

I have scared more than one delivery person when I answered the door wearing this thing. I love the  sheet masks that are the core of Korean and Japanese beauty routines. I just don't have time to lay down for half an hour while I wear them. This "over mask" increases the sheet masks' effectiveness and convenience! The mask stretches over the face, looping over the ears, while you're wearing your treatment mask. It keeps the sheet mask in place so you can do other things. It also keeps the mask moist longer. I get more benefit out of each treatment because they don't dry out so fast. NOTE: The silicone mask will scare your neighbors if you go get the mail with the thing still on. Fair warning.

4. I wash my feet (no matter how tired I am) before I go to bed. (And apply foot cream.) I walk barefoot everywhere I can, inside and outside. I also have a high genetic risk for diabetes. Those are both good reasons to pay close attention to my foot health. I keep Simple Exfoliating Wipes (but any wipes will do) on my night stand with my foot cream so that I don't forget to take care of my tootsies. Going through the ritual is also relaxing, and helps me sleep a little better.

Payot's Powdered Foot Gel may be getting hard to find, but there are loads of other options on Amazon, for example, to choose from.
I like these wipes, but honestly it doesn't matter too much which wipes you use. It's most for when I forgot to wash my feet in the bathroom and I'm too tired to get back out of bed to go do it.

Seasonal Variations:
In the winter, I try to keep my feet warm so I use a heating pad at night (with automatic shut-off) and a warming foot cream. (This is a good one: http://amzn.com/B0026MRZVM).  In the summer, I use a cooling, cream-to-powder foot cream to keep my feet feeling cool. (If there is any theme to this list, it is that I will do almost anything to improve my sleep!)

My favorite cooling foot cream is Payot's Le Corps Cooling Powdered Foot Gel, pictured above, but I've heard that's being discontinued. It is still available on Amazon, and several other sites, however: http://amzn.com/B0085K594E and as I noted in the caption, there are several brands that make similar products.

5. My perfumes have purpose. I have perfume for sleeping. And for working. And for energizing my errand-running afternoons.

My time with Shiseido Beauty created in me a profound respect for the power of fragrance. At one time, Shiseido had a series of fragrances with purpose - to help one relax, or feel energized, or to concentrate. You can read more about that here: http://www.shiseido.co.uk/shiseido-a-pioneer-in-aromachology-for-a-beautyful-life-2/.  

My favorite "purposeful" fragrances are part of my vintage Shiseido collection. The Zen Global (white bottle) was my work perfume. The shorter orange bottle, called Energizing Fragrance, was my non-work daytime fragrance.  My sleep fragrance was Relaxing Fragrance. (The tall, green bottle is hard to see in the picture.) All three were part of Shiseido's now-discontinued Aromachology collection. You can view my Vintage Shiseido gallery here: http://dancersbeautyguide.blogspot.com/p/blog-page.html

My perfume obsession does go beyond functionality. I have the perfumes and colognes of my grandmother, my mom, my dad and my grandfather. (Coty L'Aimant, Lauder Cinnabar, Lagerfeld, and Aqua Velva, respectively.)  I keep their fragrances the way others keep portraits of their loved ones - to keep them close in mind and heart.

Crabtree & Evelyn vintage Mayflowers 1993, Passion Flower 1996. Summer Hill (still in production) Song de Chine 1997.

I also have fragrances that I wore during particular happy times in my life. My biggest collection of "time capsule" fragrances are from my years working at Crabtree & Evelyn.

6. I am obsessive about germs in my skin care and makeup. I try never to put my fingers in a jar of anything. I use spatulas or swabs to pull out a dose of my skin cream, foundation or other jarred product. (And I don't double-dip.)

Travel jars from Amazon - http://amzn.com/B00JPW6ZLM
Plastic spatulas - http://amzn.com/B00PRS5CC6

As soon as we open a jar and expose the product to the air, or stick our finger into the product, it starts degrading. Creams, gels, foundations etc., all work better, longer, if we never touch the product in the jar. I blame years working with licensed cosmetologists looking over my shoulder telling me that there was a special place in hell for people who blew into their makeup brushes.  I got a little obsessive with germs after that.

If you want to go a step further, you can take a small amount of your cream and put in a tiny travel jar. That way you're opening the little jar every day and not the big jar you're dramming from.

Makeup artist habits die hard. I still use disposable mascara wands, gloss wands, and eye liner brushes. I say disposable, but I sanitize them and reuse them. They're inexpensive and help keep products from getting contaminated so that they work better, longer.

7. I change my pillow case every night (sort of.) Years of fighting cystic acne taught me the value of this trick. Even though I don't use a pillow, I do still have a pillow case or towel under my head every night.  It's probably psychological but I have to have something under my head. (I don't like my head to rest directly on the floor.) 

Fancy satin pillowcases - http://amzn.com/B014GATF8C

The trick is rotating the sides of the pillowcase, which I learned from a dermatologist when I was a teenager. The first night you sleep on one side. The next night you flip it over. The third night, you turn it inside out. And the fourth night you turn over the inside out pillowcase. The fifth night, you get a new pillowcase. While I don't have the acne problems I had, I do still have occasional skin problems. I also sometimes sleep with an overnight cream mask, or just heavier moisturizer on my face. I don't want to keep sleeping in the mask or moisturizer residue, so I still do the flip-inside-out routine. If you don't want to bother with throwing them in the wash, pillowcases are usually thin enough to hand wash and hang dry.

8. Cold Showers / Hot Baths

a. I take cold showers. This was another habit I started that, at first, had nothing to do with my appearance, but rather my health.  There's a good list of the benefits of cold showers here: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/surprising-benefits-cold-showers.html, but the biggest benefit to my appearance was increased circulation. On the days I take cold showers, people seem to compliment my skin more. I look more awake and have more color to my complexion. And my hair is shinier due to the cold water locking down and smoothing the hair cuticle.

The biggest reason I started taking cold showers a couple of times a week was actually to boost my sense of accomplishment. It sounds strange but, like sleeping on the floor, making myself do it gave me a small sense of victory. The increased circulation, alertness and mood lift were additional benefits. One trick to getting started - don't turn the water on full-blast. Cold water is tough enough to take at first, it's far more difficult when it's pounding into your skin. I was amazed at how efficient I became in getting myself clean and done and out of the shower quickly. Ultimately, I use a whole lot less water - even with baths a take on other days.

b. I also take hot baths, but not to get clean. Hot baths are therapeutic and part of my pain management and sleep improvement protocol. Like traditional Japanese bath house ritual, I clean my body with a brush and bucket of water first, then run a hot bath. Depending on how I'm feeling or what I need from the bath, I have additives like eucalyptus salts, camelia oil, apricot oil, or sake (usually with ginger so I don't smell like a brewery when I get done.) 

The next adventure . . .

And the next crazy thing I'm going to try? Micro-needling. I'm giving this technique a go, from Stacked Skincare - http://stackedskincare.com/collections/home-page-featured-products/products/collagen-boosting-micro-roller?variant=2414655363

Skin needling, also called microneedling therapy, collagen induction therapy (CIT), and percutaneous collagen induction (PCI), is a minimally invasive skin-rejuvenation procedure that involves the use of a device that contains fine needles. The needles are used to puncture the skin to create a controlled skin injury. 

It's not too different from chemical or physical exfoliants we use to increase cell turnover and collagen production. The treatment feels no worse than using a depilatory cream. Slight stinging is the most discomfort I've noticed.

I've experienced the aesthetician version of this a couple of times and have been so impressed at the immediacy of the results. In one session I noticed one of my scars softened enough to respond to topical treatment. That got my attention. Now that there is a home protocol available, I'm giving it a try. I'll keep you informed of how it goes!

Your turn!
Do you have any crazy beauty rituals that you recommend?

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