The end of the year can hectic for a lot of people, especially with the stress of the holidays. During a time that’s dedicated to focusing on others, it is also important to remember to take care of yourself! Here’s my twist on the 12 Days of Christmas: 12 Days of Self Care. My idea stemmed from a quote that I really connected with – “You can’t pour from an empty cup.”
Take my list below and dedicate each day toward the given topic. It doesn’t need to be long. Use it as a reminder to be mindful with yourself and your skincare routine. Maybe spend 10 minutes researching the benefits of a step or product, or spend that same time adding a facial massage to your morning or nighttime routine. Just use the below as a jumping off point to spend time on yourself.
You can’t pour from an empty cup.
Day 1: Remove it All
Always remember to never go to bed with makeup on. In fact, if you’re home all day or come back from a dinner or work, I would take your makeup off and let your skin breath. It’s the best way to reset our skin. It’s so important to let our skin heal itself by not having it buried under makeup all the time.
I recommend a double cleanse method. You want to have a cleanser that will remove makeup and impurities and a makeup for cleansing the skin after makeup removal, which I will discuss in further detail below. I recommend an oil based cleanser or a balm for your first cleanse. Oil-based balms and cleansers do a great job of breaking down oil-based makeup and sebum deep in your pores and lift impurities. It also allows you to wipe it all away easily.
Day 2: Cleanse Again
Its very important to find the right cleanser for your skin and keep in mind that what works for me or your friend won’t necessarily work for you because all skin is so unique and personal, so ask yourself these questions before looking for a cleanser.
- What skin type do you have?
- What skin concerns do you have?
- Do you have any allergies to ingredients?
- Have much time do you have for skincare?
- How much makeup do you use?
Based on those answers you can narrow down your cleansers. For your secondary (and sometimes third) cleanse, I recommend milky, foaming, or gently exfoliating cleansers. The oil-based balms will remove your makeup, while a water-based cleanser will insure all the oil is removed.
The biggest piece of advice I have is to make sure all dirt is removed after cleansing. If you can wipe a cotton pad on your face and dirt or makeup comes off, you should cleanse again. A tip I got once was to use a soft wash cloth to cleanse (like aestheticians use when you get a facial). This not only very gently exfoliates, but it also allows you to see any extra dirt of makeup that is being removed! Oh, and don’t forget your neck!
You can check out a round up of my favorites below, as well as more info on my IG post, here.
Day 3: Exfoliate to Renew
I like to exfoliate my skin once or twice a week with either daily peel pads, a gentle at-home peel, or an acid tonic for skin renewal. There are two types of exfoliation: Physical and Chemical. The difference between the two is in the name. A physical exfoliant uses physical abrasion like sugar or beads to buffer away the top layer of dead skin. A chemical exfoliant uses an acid, like lactic, glycolic or salicylic to break down the bonds of dead skin cells. Here are some tips when deciding between the two.
- be careful it’s not scratching and scaring your skin.
- The beads should dissolve easily (derma e, tatcha rice polish, laura mercier polish)
- I lean more toward these usually… aha’s (naturium great simple and safe to use (weekly /d aily)), Exfoliating pads (derma e, dr gross, elemis, eve lom – i like these bc it’s an easy one and done. These are great for men.
- I love Tonics for chemical exfoliants like the glow tonic from Ren
Day 4: Tone for Clarity
Toners have gotten a bad rep over the years, but they have gotten a modern makeover. Now, a simple toner can go a long way in your skincare routine. There is a product for every skin type. Toners help minimize appearance of pores, aid in retaining moisture in the skin, help protect skin from the elements, and soothe skin. If you run on the dry side, avoid toners / astringents with alcohol as an ingredient. This can dry out your skin even more. Instead, opt for one that has ingredients like hyaluronic acid, rosewater, vitamin e or aloe. If you have oily or combination skin, alcohol won’t affect you as much, but I’d also look for ingredients such as tea tree oil, and glycolic and salicylic acids.
When do you use toner? I always press my toners into my skin right after I cleanse and pat my face dry – aka right before my serums.
Day 5: Replenish with Boosters, Serums, & Essence
If you are a skincare minimalist, the 12 days of self care is the time to learn a bit more about serums that you might want to add into your routine! This is a category of product that I would definitely research. Everyone’s skin is so different and in need of different boosters. Overall, serums can affect the brightness of your skin, the tone, texture and discoloration, elasticity, plumpness, and fine lines and wrinkles. They are formulated to penetrate the deeper layers of the skin to target certain skin concerns, such as hydration, aging, or acne.
With serums, quality matters. If you really want to see a difference in your skin, you might have to spend a little more.
Day 6: Massage in Moisturizer
Did you know moisturizing your face doesn’t just hydrate and reduce dryness? Moisturizer also reduces the appearance of other blemishes, boosts sensitive skin to repair more easily and fights wrinkles.
When trying to choose a moisturizer, it is important to select a product based on your skin type. A basic rule of thumb is to look for something thicker, like a cream, if you tend to run on the dry side or look for a thin textured lotion if you run oily.
How can you tell what your skin type is? A good trick to pay attention to how your skin feels after you wash your face. Does it feel fine and supple? Then, you most likely have combination / oily skin. Does it feel tight and uncomfortable? If so, you probably have dry or dehydrated skin.
Day 7: Lock-in with a Sleep Mask
Sleep masks can be fun to do every once and awhile. They are also formulated to help the ingredients penetrate more deeply as you sleep! It works as a barrier and a sealant. Sleep masks can help prevent dirt and dust from entering your pores, while also locking in other active ingredients so they can work on your skin more effectively. Sleep masks can also accelerate and support skin regeneration (which happens naturally to your skin at night).
Day 8: Be Your Body’s Bestie
It is easy to remember to take care of the skin on our faces, but don’t forget your body! Use today to really focus on giving your body a moisture bath with a body oil, serum or thick lotion. So, want to know the differences between oil and lotion?
- Tend to be “cleaner” with less questionable ingredients
- Oil regulates sebum production, so it’s great for acne-driven or oily skin
- Studies have shown that oils improve skin barrier functions
- Because lotions are usually a mixture of water and oil, they tend to work better for dry skin
- They can contain ingredients that have long-term benefits, such as hyaluronic acid and ceramides
- If you self tan, lotion helps prolong its effects
Day 9: Peel it Off
Adding a peel into your routine can help jumpstart your skin renewal. With that being said, peels can be extremely harsh, so make sure to use them sparingly. I’m talking like once a month or as a season changes. I also urge you to really do your research prior to doing any at-home peels. Because they are strong, you don’t want to choose the wrong one for your skin type.
Day 10: Take Care of Your Hands
The winter can wreck havoc on our skin. All of our hand sanitizing and washing leaves our extremities cracked, dying of thirst. I always make sure to have a strong hand cream in my purse, diaper bag, and car at all times so I can lock in moisture after I clean.
Aging in our hands can happen very quickly, especially with all of the sun exposure and intense hygiene practicing (aka hot water and alcohol-based products). So, for day 10 of the 12 days of self care, take the time to take care of your hands. Give them a little massage (or have your partner treat you). It’s so easy to neglect our hands and they are often the most overlooked.
Day 11: Soak the Stress Away
Today’s the day to sneak away for an hour and allow yourself bath time. Light a candle, draw a bath and grab your favorite book. To make the experience even more luxe, add some bath salts or drops to your water. Not only will this promote relaxation, salts and soaks also are great for your skin! Salt specifically has a wide array of benefits including being antiseptic, detoxifying, cleansing, and a plethora more of natural healing properties.
Here are some benefits of relaxing in a warm bath with salts and soaks:
- Moisturizes the skin – bathing with salts has been shown to improve the skin barrier function, hydrate the skin, and decrease inflammation
- Decreases stress – soaking with bath salts can increase the overall circulation in the body, which helps to further relax our internal systems
- Helps insomnia – Magnesium-rich salts assist our bodies during sleep
- Supplies vital healing properties – promotes our most optimum level of biological and cellular function
- Soothes pain – mineral salts with magnesium, such as epsom salts, can help to relieve muscle spasms and menstrual cramps
Day 12: Treat & Tousle Your Hair
I don’t know about you, but when it comes to my hair, I’m always in a rush. I want to get in and out of the shower as fast as possible (when I do shampoo and conditioner). When I’m not in the shower, I’m trying to stretch my fresh hair for as long as possible with products, sprays and dry shampoos. We often forget that all of these products cause build up on our scalp and can actually hinder growth, strength and the overall health of our hair! On our last day of my 12 days of self care, spend time taking care of the skin on our head!
Scalp care is often overlooked, but if you think about it, hair growth comes directly from our scalps! If we have dry, flaky skin or overly oily scalps, it is going to affect growth. A healthy scalp = healthy hair.
If you want some easy ways to style your hair this holiday, check out my blog about “dressing up” for holidays at home!