Well, it would seem I’m in the mood to talk about routines lately. Last week I shared with you all my super-quick nightly skincare routine, and today I want to talk you through the little ritual I do every night right before turning off the light. This is my bedtime self-care routine in just three easy steps. As always with me, it needs to be quick and easy otherwise I won’t do it!
I think it’s important to do little things for yourself in the lead-up to sleep that will help you feel calm and cared for. It may be giving yourself a facial massage, fixing yourself a glass or mug of warm milk or herbal tea, or reading or meditating. But we all need that late-night relaxation ritual in our lives in some form. My bedtime self-care routine – featuring all the products currently occupying my bedside table – helps signal to my brain that it’s time to power-down and get ready for sleep.
Believe me, there are PLENTY of nights where my mind won’t stop going no matter what so I’m certainly not trying to talk myself up as some relaxation guru! However I do think this routine makes a difference most of the time, and I’m excited to share it with you all now. Let’s dive in!
DISCLAIMER: THIS POST CONTAINS GIFTED ITEMS, BUT ALL OPINIONS ARE 100% MY OWN.
A LITTLE LIP LOVE
The first thing I usually do after getting under the covers is to give my poor dry-as-a-bone lips some love. Now, hear me out here. I do put on a decent layer of straight Vaseline over my lips, but there’s a very good reason for it.
I’ve mentioned it on the blog here and there over the years but back in late 2016, into 2017, I started reacting to pretty much every lip balm or lip mask I put on. The first and most intense reaction was to the Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask. My lips swelled to double their size; they cracked, peeled and bled, and it took weeks to fully recover from. It was truly horrific. I then tried two other balms – one from La Roche Posay (I think) and the other from Chanel – and while the reactions weren’t as horrific as the first, I still got blisters and slight swelling with both. I subsequently went through a round of allergy testing, but I never truly got closure on what ingredient(s) I had reacted to.
Long story short, I started using Vaseline on my lips at night and the rest is history. I realize it doesn’t necessarily help moisture or condition my lips, but it does form a barrier against the centrally-heated air in my bedroom that dries everything out this time of year. Plus, there’s something to be said about that oh so satisfying glide it gives my lips!
I pick up these cute little 0.25 oz tubs from the check-out area at the drugstore – usually two or three at a time – and they really last quite a long time.
SALVATION FOR THE HANDS (AND SOMETIMES ARMS AND LEGS)
The next thing I tend to do is reach for a moisturizer. My hands are in such bad shape right now, between the drying conditions of the winter air and the pandemic-induced extra hand washing. The skin is dry, red, and cracked in places so they definitely need some TLC before bed. I’ve got two different creams on my bedside table that I alternate between at the moment.
You’ve heard me talk about the lovely AHAVA Superfood Smoothing Body Lotion on here before (I’ve linked the full review below). I like reaching for this one for a few reasons. Firstly, I love the user-friendly pump; I’m always a fan of good pump for easy, non-messy dispensing! Secondly, the cream is lightweight but really moisturizing, and it absorbs very quickly into the skin. You may remember from my review that I was also gifted the hand cream from the same range. I really loved that formulation too, but now that I’m out of it I’m using the body lotion all over – my hands, arms, elbows, legs, the whole shebang.
However the new cream I’ve been trialing is the Exederm Flare Control Cream, which was very kindly gifted to me by the brand’s PR team. If you suffer from eczema or any kind of dermatitis, this line is especially designed for you. The Flare Control Cream is an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream that soothes redness and any kind of inflammation whether it be from a bug bite, eczema or a bruise. It contains 1% of the active, which I believe is the highest dose you can access without a prescription. So in reality, it can be used for so much more than how I’m currently using it, which is essentially just as a hand cream to relieve dryness. I was sent two of the smaller 1 oz tubes to try, but you can buy the bigger 2 oz tubes from any drugstore or mass-market retailer.
The cream texture itself is on the thinner side, so it absorbs pretty quickly into the skin and it leaves no greasiness at all. It keeps my skin feeling hydrated and smoothed for hours after application as well. As someone who deals with the occasional eczema flare, I’m definitely interested in trying more from their line, including their Intensive Moisturizer and their Daily Body Wash.
A REASSURING SEND OFF INTO DREAM LAND…
I’ve been taking CBD oil on and off since last summer in an effort to curb my nighttime anxiety (which has gone off the charts since the pandemic started) and promote restful sleep. Now the scientific jury is still out if CBD can definitively be used as an effective treatment for anxiety and anxiety disorders, but early signs point to positive results. Personally I’ve had both good and bad results using CBD, and by “bad” I simply mean “no effect.” Some nights I feel my anxiety lessens after taking it; other nights there seems to be little to no difference in how I feel or sleep.
(If you’re unaware, CBD is a cannabinoid or compound found in the hemp plant that is non-psychotropic, which simply means it won’t get you high. Its beneficial and therapeutic properties are just starting to become widely known, so if you’re interested in learning more here’s a great reference.)
I recently wrote an article for work on how New York State is regulating its CBD and hemp industries, and one of the brands I spoke with very kindly gifted me the Hemp Garden CBD Tincture. I fill about half the dropper up (0.50 mL), place it under my tongue, hold it for about 15 seconds and then swallow. It has a faint herbal taste that I find goes down very easily. This is the last thing I do in my routine before shutting the lights off.
I’ve only just started to use this particular brand so I will report back on my results. Finding good quality CBD can be tricky as it’s still quite an unregulated industry depending on the state you live in. But if I can give you any buying tips, particularly for tinctures, it’s the less ingredients the better (4 or less), and look for that QR code! It links to the Certificate of Analysis which gives you peace of mind that the product contains what it says it contains and has been properly tested.
Do you have a bedtime self-care routine? I’d love to know!
xo, and be well, Erica
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