September is the month that (unfortunately) everything returns to normal after the excitement of summer. Schools start, the next term of University begins and work ramps up in the run up to Christmas. It’s a busy time and although we’ve had the summer to wind down, it’s very easy to slip back into the stresses of life and not take anytime for yourself.
I discovered the importance of taking time out for yourself last year, when things got so on top of me and I felt so out of control. I was working constantly, in between writing essays, practising for my shorthand exams and trying to manage my health problems. There was no time I dedicated to myself, my health, mind and well-being and I think that’s where I was going horribly wrong.
I think the reason I don’t suffer as much with my anxiety and IBS during the summer is because I read books, I chill and I spend hours in the bath, painting my nails and pampering myself. Obviously it’s not feasible to do this everyday, all year round – but you should dedicate at least one night a week to yourself. Turn off that iPhone, get off Instagram, shut down your laptop – pick up a good book and a couple of my favourite relaxing beauty treats…
AromaWorks has to be one of my favourite brands when it comes to pampering, as it oozes relaxation (even the packaging) and the essential oil/spa like scents that waft from their products are enough to chill you out on their own. Bits I’ve recently been loving have been the Signature Range Serenity & Inspire Duo candle set, which are little enough to fit on even the smallest of bath shelves, but when lit (or even when not lit) have this incredible scent which uplifts me from the minute I smell it. It sounds cliche but smells really are a great way to put your mind and body into the ‘chill out’ mode and for me, this is my way of doing it. I keep these in their box so they don’t lose any of the amazing aroma’s – and whip them out on pamper day! They are organic and made with essential oils, soy and beeswax – which I think adds to their appeal, there’s nothing artificial about them – smell wise or in their appearance and this definitely helps to calm things!
I’ve also been loving their Nourish Night Cream for your face, which I’ll pop on before bed for a really hydrating result in the morning. It also contains essential oils (which again, smell incredible) and I don’t know whether it’s just me but the scent on your face really helps you to zone out and drift off. I usually sprinkle a few drops of essential oils onto my pillows before I go to sleep, just because this helps me for some reason (rather than lying awake for hours overthinking things) however since I’ve been using this night cream, it’s more than enough to create the same effect. I thought this would react to my rather sensitive skin (because everything seems to – especially if something smells nice, I usually have to use the plainest stuff) however it’s worked really well to keep dry patches and redness at bay. A new favourite!
Okay, so nails are a bit of a weird thing. When related to pampering, you usually imagine painting them – however for many people, painted nails aren’t allowed at work (or school) and so you usually forget about them if they haven’t got a slick coat of neon or pastel on them. However this shouldn’t be the case. They needn’t be left out if they can’t be painted – or even if you just fancy a clean, shiny and natural nail. There’s a certain stress involved in painting your nails (especially when it comes to the left hand) so this process probably isn’t the most relaxing when it comes to a pamper evening. The Velvet Smooth System can be used on your finger or toenails and features a device which files, buffs, evens out and shines. It’s super easy to use even if you, like me – never read the instructions. It’s all over in 5 minutes and makes for the perfect base if you do actually want to add a coat of paint, or au natural for a classic look. It also saves money getting this done at the salon! Bonus!
Pampering usually involves a more lengthy skincare cleanse – and for this, you need something that you don’t necessarily use everyday to make things feel a bit more special. On a daily basis, I use a very basic cleanser, balm (which melts off the make-up for easy removal) and a moisturiser. I probably should get a little more creative with this but I save it for my pamper days, when I pretty much indulge in every product under the sun you can possibly use on your face, all in one go.
At the moment, I’m absolutely loving the Bryt Skincare range, which comes packaged in the cutest little boxes – and features an assortment of products to suit all skin types (even my crazy sensitive skin). You start off with the cleanser, which foams when added to damp skin and removes all make-up, leaving you with a lovely soft base – even before you’ve added any moisturiser. Then I use the ‘Remove’ product (which you should probably use before the cleanser, but I like to do things differently) to get rid of any remaining make-up and eye make-up. This stuff is very gentle, it doesn’t strip your skin of any of it’s natural oils and it very carefully tones your face and calms down any redness. It’s very rich in Olive and Almond Oils which are great for soothing even the most delicate of skin types – and this really works wonders on mine!
Next up is the Day or Night cream, I suppose depending on what time of the day you can fit in your pamper. I usually use the Night Cream whatever, as it tends to be more hydrating and thicker, which I need as otherwise my skin flakes off – however the next step – The Essential Serum, helps to eliminate any dryness, so I’d use either. Both products sink in rather quickly, which is very helpful if you want to apply make-up afterwards or simply don’t like that greasy feeling that can arise when you apply such creams. The serum isn’t an oil but more of a silkier cream – and it really gets to work straight away. I love the Bryt range for a full face of pampering – and the set as a whole looks beautiful in the bathroom, sitting pretty until it’s pamper night once again!
Of course, when it comes to pampering – you can’t leave your hair out, nor does using your usual shampoo and conditioner really feel very special. You need something luxurious, which leaves your hair feeling silky soft (and smelling amazing) that doesn’t break the bank. For me, this has to be Aussie – as even though I do use their conditioner everyday (so I’m going against what I’ve just said) they have such a vast gorgeous range of products, that there’s always one you can save as a ‘special one’. If you haven’t tried Aussie as a brand yet, I would 1000% recommend you give them a go. Before last month, I didn’t have a haircut in 6 years and somehow managed to retain softness and very few split ends – I accredit this to using Aussie since I’ve been 14. They’re everything you need in a haircare brand and more!
For some really intense hair pampering, I’d recommend the ‘Repair’ range which seems to have magical properties in restoring even the most damaged of conditions. The 3 Minute Miracle Reconstructor Deep Conditioner is the one I save for my weekly pampering ritual, with Australian Balm Mint Extract (basically, it smells incredible) as it really nourishes, without weighing your hair down. It’s best to switch up and use different ones on different days, as I find that shocking your hair with new products prevents it from looking limp and flat (and getting used to one specific product). In between pampering, I use the Repair Miracle Conditioner with Macadamia Nut Oil and Avocado Oil (possibly the best things you can give your hair) before finishing with a spritz of 3 Miracle Oil Treatment. On pamper days I also accompany the conditioning treatment with the Repair Miracle Shampoo – as I have to use a sensitive scalp shampoo on the other days, so this feels like a treat in comparison!
For the full ‘spa-like’ treatment, pop the deep conditioner on damp(ish) hair, wrap in a towel and leave for 15-20 minutes while you’re laying in the bath. The towel seems to heat up the hair slightly and intensify the effects of the treatment – you won’t look back once you’ve tried this!
Okay, okay – so admittedly waxing probably isn’t the first thing you had in mind when I said the words ‘relax’ or ‘pamper’ however if you’re off on holiday or even work this into your normal routine, it is quite nice to get all the ‘beauty bits’ done in one single sitting. Veet have a range of really easy to use waxing products, made to suit even the most novice of waxers (i.e.: me included). It’s soooo much better than shaving in the long run, because the results last longer and so that in itself is enough to make you relax!
The Natural Inspirations range is great if you have particularly sensitive skin because it’s pretty much all (90% or so) from natural origins, which means it’s less likely to irritate. The built-in Aloe Vera helps soothe and smooth for optimum results. I feel like the voiceover for an advert here, but basically – they’re the best in the business for home waxing! I love them – and if I’m feeling brave enough (although it doesn’t hurt really) then I work it into my pampering routine (usually every other week).
For an even more relaxing way to complete this annoying task (but I feel so much better having done it – smooth legs makes you feel like a queen – or does for me anyway!), Veet’s Hair Removal Cream for sensitive skin with grape seed oil is a great solution. I wouldn’t use this in the bath – but maybe before you’ve run the bath as it takes 5-10 minutes!
Do you have any other pampering tips? Do you set aside a night each week to indulge in a bit of pampering too?