My body care routine
Recently I was walking home at night and a stranger tapped me on the shoulder. Understandably, I nearly shat myself. He was drunk and told me he was conducting an experiment. Expecting some less than smooth chat up line I responded oh really, pulling my keys out of my pocket and quickening my pace. How old are you? he slurred. 22 I mumbled. Oh, I thought you were 17. Two things: first thing, why in the hell would this 30+ year old man be starting a conversation after midnight with a teenager; and secondly, I was weirdly flattered. I guess that's my round-about way of saying my skin is supple and soft enough to be mistaken for baby skin.
Some of you have been asking to know what body products I recommend, ever since my two year stint at The Body Shop as a 'Beauty Consultant'. Understandably, most of what I still use is leftover favourites from them but I promise you I am no longer affiliated with them (at the moment).
Before I talk about my body care routine there are three general tips that I believe are invaluable to beautiful skin:
1) Drink more water please: you've heard it before, but here you go again. A great excuse to get nice n hydrated - I drink nearly 3 litres a day. Sub out your other beverages for natures good stuff.
2) Don't shower: okay okay maybe shower sometimes. But, please don't shower everyday if you don't need to. It dries out your poor skin and makes the dermis more susceptible to pollution, chemicals etc. Let it build up a natural barrier of oil.
3) Eat plenty of fat: yum yum yum. Get them Omega 3s into your life your brain will thank you, your skin will be happy as hell and if you're currently menstruating your periods will flow better. You're welcome!
Okay, without further ado now onto my body care routine!
First things first let's start in the shower:
I know a nice searingly hot shower can feel like a dream in the winter, but once again you're hurting your poor skin. My compromise is a good 30 seconds (you can count it) of cold at the end, studies have shown this gets the blood flowing and is great for beautiful skin.
Now, shower care wise I use two main products. The Rub Rub Rub scrub from Lush which is well worth the higher price point. Sea salt, lemon juice and jasmine flower oil - oh my! If you don't mind an oily residue this one's perfect. I like to justify all these pricier purchases by asking 50 year old me whether I wish I'd spent extra money on my skin and I don't need a crystal ball to know that very financial successful me is more than happy to foot the bill. In the interim, have a chat with any older women in your life I'm sure they will be happy to contribute to the cause! Alternatively, I love the classic The Body Shop shower gels. At the moment I've been enjoying the Christmas Vanilla Chai, but normally I stick to Shea or Olive. Honourable mention goes to Wild Argan Oil.
Shaving wise, make sure to change your razor regularly to reduce the risk of in-grown hairs. Pro tip: although it's tempting to grab male razors (the pink tax is real) they have more blades and so dry the skin out more easily. Stick to a good ol' Venus or invest in a natural shaving gel to make sure you don't screw over your skin!
Now, let's hop out of the shower:
How often do you wash your towel? Be honest. I'd bet that you change your sheets more than your towels, but they're getting gross on a daily basis with all the skin you scraped off. Treat yourself and for my sake pop it in the washing machine please!
First thing I like to do is get some lovely moisturiser all over my skin, giving myself a nice full body massage. Spend that extra time to work into your leg muscles, give your neck a quick rub and even check your boobs for lumps. This practice not only makes my skin smooth to the touch, but also has started to get me to tune into my body. How are my muscles doing? Am I holding any water weight? Starting a dialogue with your body and given it a little love is the perfect way to start loving yourself more fully. After all, it's busy keeping you alive 24/7.
Products wise I have three main moisturiser's that I alternate between. Very grateful to my aunty for treating me to some delicious Jo Malone Mimosa & Cardomom body crème (their words not mine). I like to use this in the morning right before I spritz my perfume as it allows the scent to linger for longer - if you're wondering this is the perfume I wear. Do I have any shame about the price? Absolutely not. My body is worth all the love money can by after all the crap I put it through. Now, before bed I like to use either the Lush Sleepy which Lydia kindly got for my birthday - believe all the hype it relaxes me just right - or The Body Shop Vanilla Chai or Shea body butter.
Special treats because I'm worth it
Otherwise, I look after my body through daily yoga and stretching. As well as, regular exercise and walks. I'm a massive lover of anything spa related, if you want the key to my heart back massages, foot rubs and facials are always a win. Especially, being single at the moment, I believe it's so important to invest in physical touch if you're someone that craves cuddles etc. I like to think of my monthly treats to myself as my reminder that I love my body and I'm in it for the long haul. Luckily, in Brussels they have really affordable Thai massage parlours (not happy ending I promise) so I can pop in for 30 minutes for the price of a night out. But, last year I used to do massage barter with my housemate Freya - we'd get out our favourite moisturiser and give each other a well-deserved back rub. You just need to get creative.
I guess overall what I'm saying is that your body is an investment and a representation of your love. Treat yourself the way you want to be treated and start cultivating a higher sense of gratitude by carving out time and money to treat yourself well. I used to be a bit of a martyr when it came to these things, I've gone for literally years without haircuts or buying budget moisturiser full of chemicals. Life's too short and you can be really resourceful if you start prioritising. As I say, most of my pricier pieces I received for Christmas or birthday - set an intention to look after yourself better.
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All my love, Sam