How to Transform your Skincare Routine into a Skincare Ritual
Posted on September 15 2019
This guest blog comes courtesy of @skinfullofseoul AKA Katherine, a K-Beauty expert.
How to Transform your Skincare Routine into a Skincare Ritual
It’s an unfortunate, but generally true, statement to say that many of us first turn to skincare simply because we’re trying to “improve” our skin. We see fine lines and we’re taught to seek “anti-aging methods”; we begin breaking out and are made to feel ashamed of our acne; we have actual pores and begin to believe our natural complexion should be completely blurred and “Instagram filtered”. Skincare passions, as much as we may truly love skincare, have often stemmed from looking for a result. As a society we are generally always looking for ways to “improve” appearance, and although that can be unhealthy, it just is what it is.
Then a couple of years ago I had a realization. Although I too have skincare aims, something materialized in my journey with skincare that I never expected or had any understanding of. It was no longer just about results or achieving perfect skin (which it turns out, doesn’t exist). It was my self-care tool. For me, skincare had transformed from simply a vehicle to the results I was seeking into something much bigger. It’s part of my unwinding routine, a way to relax in the evenings, to enjoy my products, to gain a sensory experience, to let go of the day’s anxieties and to focus on myself. In this post I’m talking about how to let go of (or at least ease your grip on) the tangible “results-driven” skincare approach, in order to fully enjoy and appreciate your skincare routine in the moment. Asian beauty often encourages this ritualistic philosophy and I’ll walk you through the ways in which I have transformed my evening routine into an evening ritual. It’s a moment in my day that I hugely value, and I hope you learn to love it too!
“Set the scene”
My skincare “environment” is something I’ve worked on recently. I treat my skincare time as a mini date with my products (yes, really!). I get a lot of joy from using candles for setting my mind on relax mode, so they’re my go-to easy option. Woodwick are one of my favourite brands because the scents completely fill the room and the candles make a comforting crackling sound. I’d highly recommend their “Caramel Crunch” for fall vibes!
I dim my lights and usually either listen to music or watch something chill on my iPad. I know it can be difficult if you have a busy family life or an evening job, but finding just 10 minutes whenever you can, to have space to yourself, can be truly beneficial in my opinion.
Cleansing is a step I now look forward to because I approach it as the first step in my wind down. I remove my makeup with an eye makeup remover and then double cleanse. In an Asian beauty routine, double cleansing is the preferred method. You remove sunscreen and makeup with your first oil-based cleanser, then remove further residue with a water-based cleanser. Having that clean canvas to begin your routine is essential.
Personally, I prefer a liquid oil for my first cleanser, like the Japanese classic DHC Oil Cleanser. There are some fantastic cleansing balms out there, but there is nothing quite like the feeling of slathering oil onto your face before gently massaging and rinsing off. It’s therapeutic and leads nicely into your second cleanser. If I’m feeling particularly pamper-minded, I do a 5-minute mini massage with the oil before rinsing. Once my face is cleansed, I feel a sense of having rinsed the stresses of the day away and I’m fully focused on the rest of my routine.
Masking & Massage
After cleansing, I move onto my hydrating toners and essences and “marinate” my face. I love to enjoy the texture and scent of each product while I layer, particularly with my Korean products that incorporate a lot of herbal scents. Then it’s time to move onto the most famous of Asian beauty treatments- sheet masks. Although Korean sheet masks are the most famous in the US, Taiwanese sheet masks are arguably some of the best on the market. Popular brands include My Beauty Diary, Annie’s Way, and Lovemore.
These sheet masks are easy-to-use and I try to lay on bed while I let them work their magic. The cooling sensation soothes and calms my skin and when I force myself to switch off, I find it freeing.
After removing the sheet mask and patting in excess essence, I often enjoy using oils for a short facial massage. I use either my fingers or a ceramic massage tool I own from Korean treatment brand, Troiareuke. There are plenty of tutorials online for massage if you need some inspiration or direction. I hold a lot of tension in my facial muscles, so I find this step incredibly satisfying and relaxing. Have you ever tried facial massage?
Surprisingly, the final step in my skincare ritual doesn’t involve skincare at all. It’s a product that I discovered after first visiting Japan in 2015 and I haven’t lived without a box of them in my stash ever since… steam masks.
Steam masks are self-warming eye masks that help reduce puffiness, relieve the eye area, and aid in relaxation before sleeping. My personal favorite brand is KAO MegRhythm and I find the lavender scented option to be the most relaxing of the variety they offer. You use them as you would an eye sleeping mask- hook around your ears, close your eyes, and allow the warming to help you unwind for 30 minutes. I use them right before I go to sleep, although you’re not technically supposed to fall asleep with them on. I admit I’m guilty of this- they really are that relaxing.
While eye steam masks are the most well-known, KAO MegRhythm also provide the Steam Good-Night Body Sheet. These sheets can be used on areas where your body feels strained, such as your neck or shoulders. They are fragrance-free and you can relax while the mask warms up, easing your muscles before bed.
By this point, my mind and body are usually both calm and ready for sleeping. A ritual has helped me with my anxious thoughts, the tension I hold in my body, as well as created time for my mind to unwind for bed and improved my sleeping issues. Aside from the physical and mental benefits I’ve experienced from creating a ritual, it has also become my moment of luxury and self-care after a hectic day. It’s me-time. They’re my products that I’ve selected and enjoy. My treat. Life is busy and I approach my skincare ritual as a pause button, even if I only take 10 minutes.
I hope this piece inspires you to take the pressure off the results of your skincare routine occasionally and enjoy the ritual of it. While we’re all looking for results, taking time for yourself is just as important, and you deserve it.