Happy New Year! I hope 2017 is treating you well. So far, I’m doing my best to make sure that it’s kind to me by keeping a positive attitude and placing a greater focus on my health – including my rosacea.
To that end, I decided to spend the evening of New Year’s Day on several areas that I’d been neglecting over the holidays at the end of 2016:
- overall skin care,
- proper hydration,
- rosacea trigger avoidance
- relaxation and stress reduction.
Every year I promise to take better care of myself during the holidays. Every year – including last year – I stress out, dehydrate, eat way too many cookies, and fall back to only the most basic skin care (staying clean and avoiding drying up like a raisin).
On January 1, I started fresh with a home spa day
If you have rosacea, sensitive and/or reactive skin, then you likely know that a home spa day can be rather challenging. After all, it’s not as though we can hop into a hot bath, scrub the heck out of dry areas and sip away at a good glass of red wine.
Sure, we could do that, but only if we want to spend the following hours/days/weeks with burning hot, dry, tight, itchy, glowing-red skin. Fun, right? Not exactly worth that glass of pinot noir.
This year, I came up with a plan. I designed the perfect home spa experience for myself. I liked it so much that I thought I’d share it with you, including everything from the steps I took to the products I used.
Please note that this is not a sponsored blog post. All the products I discuss were purchased with my own money (or I received them as Christmas presents) and none of the brands have paid for this mention. I just thought I’d point that out since many articles online are sponsored or are part of affiliate programs meant to sell products. Full disclosure: this post is not an ad for any brand or product.
My rosacea-friendly home spa strategy
- Clean linens and towels – Before getting started, I put fresh sheets on my bed and fresh towels in the bathroom. After all, if I was going to truly pamper my skin, I wanted to use only fresh, clean linens to dry off and to sleep afterward. I use soap nuts to make sure there aren’t any irritating chemicals on any of my fabrics.
- Clean bathtub – Despite the fact that I’d already cleaned my bathroom a couple of days beforehand, I gave my bathtub a quick wash. I used a cleaning liquid I’d made with the same soap nuts I use to wash my laundry (super quick and easy to do). At other times, I’ve used dish soap to quickly clean the bathtub. I never use bathroom cleaner before taking a bath. There is no way I want to soak in that stuff. I don’t ever fool myself into thinking I’ve rinsed it all away.
- Clean hair – With a fresh spa environment, I washed my hair. I’ve been using SBT Seabuckthorn’s Lavender Shampoo, particularly when I wash my hair at night. I focus on my scalp, gently massaging it in and breathing in the calming scent of the real lavender oil in the natural, vegan chemical fragrance-free and cruelty-free ingredients. After taking my time massaging that in (I’m always gentle with my scalp), I rinsed it away with warm – not hot – water.
- Conditioned hair – I followed the shampoo with the SBT Seabuckthorn Lavender Conditioner. I massaged that into my scalp. I work gently but press down quite hard, particularly with my thumbs. This feels incredible, but it also encourages circulation to the scalp for healthy skin and hair. I also run the conditioner through the length of my hair to give it some much-needed moisture. My hair is very long, very thick and very, very dry. I wrapped my hair into a bun on my head and clipped it into place to let the conditioner sink in.
- Bath time – I ran a warm – not hot – bath. I didn’t add any products to the water because I was going to be using a couple of products during the bath, so my skin would have enough to contend with during that time. It didn’t need unnecessary extras. For the first few minutes of the bath, I just relaxed and watched a bit of a show on Netflix on my tablet. This relaxing time is important for unwinding and giving the skin time to soften in the water. Throughout this time, I was sipping water. Keeping hydrated during a bath is a great way to get great results.
- Wash time – To wash my body, I used the Evening Primrose Oil bar from The Soap Works. I like that product because it is all natural, made the old-school way, unfragranced (though it smells great because of the ingredients) and my skin absolutely loves it. It doesn’t strip away moisture. Instead, it reduces inflammation and hydrates, adding a moisture layer to my skin.
- Exfoliation – I haven’t used many exfoliating products since I cut out all products containing plastic micro-beads. Recently, I found a product from a company called Organik Botanik Australia. It was the Chamomile and Coconut Oil Sugar Body Scrub. The box I bought came with 3 packets of what looked like slightly pink large sugar crystals. No plastic micro-beads. I needed only half of a packet to do my arms, legs, back and upper chest. Not bad! I saved the rest in a little glass jar.
To use it, you just rub the sugary crystals onto wet skin. I loved this product. it gently exfoliated but left a soft layer of coconut oil behind. That felt great on my skin and softened the bath water at the same time. The sugar crystals simply dissolved in the water, so it didn’t leave grit at the bottom of the tub like plastic micro-beads do. Even a day later as I write this blog post, my skin is sooo soft from this much-needed exfoliation.
- Shave – I figured that if I was going to get the most out of my fresh bed sheets, I may as well shave haha. Anyone else love that smooth-leg feeling on sheets, or am I just a weirdo? I recently bought a 5-blade Gillette Venus Embrace for Sensitive Skin. It’s the best razor I’ve ever used. It’s crazy-expensive, but I’d buy it again on sale.
- Rinse time – All relaxed, clean and smooth, it was time to rinse. I pulled the tub plug and turned the shower on cool to rinse the conditioner out of my hair. Cool or even cold water is great for rinsing conditioner away because it seals the hair shaft, trapping the moisture inside. Thirty seconds of cool rinsing after a warm bath or shower is also good for your skin and even your immune system!
- Hair oil – Since my hair is very dry, I take care to protect it and keep frizz under control at the same time. I use a product from a brand called Pure. It is simply coconut oil with a touch of essential oil. I warm a bit of it in my palm and run it through the lower half of the length of my hair. This hydrates, holds my curls together and protects the ends.
- Hair wrap – After towel-drying my hair, I wrapped it in a top knot with a fabric “tube” my sister got me for Christmas. I love these things. It’s a tube of slightly stretchy fabric that can be worn as a headband, kerchief, beanie, or in dozens of other ways. After a bath, I use it as a breathable top-knot cover, helping to keep my damp hair out of the way until I’m ready to deal with it. I then add a terrycloth headband to keep any of those little baby hairs out of the way for when I wash my face.
- Skin oil – I once tested an argan oil product on my face and found that I broke out in pimples. However, I love using it on my neck and upper chest. I don’t get pimples there, and it helps to protect my skin against premature aging. I feel that the neck doesn’t get enough attention but it’s one of the first places to show signs of aging. I’m working hard to delay that as much as possible. The product I used was New Age Beauty’s Argan Facial Oil.
- Body moisturizing – I try to moisturize the rest of my body as quickly as I can after a bath or shower. You start losing natural moisture within 30 seconds of stepping out of the water so it’s a good idea to work quickly. I used SBT Seabuckthorn’s Body Cream. I love the stuff. It’s on the pricey side but it’s my favourite one, so I use it sparingly and alternate it with other body lotions. I use this one when I’m really treating myself. If I could afford it, I’d buy this cream by the gallon and would use it exclusively.
- Face exfoliation – This is a step I take only if I’m not experiencing a rosacea flare-up. I use the Celtic Complexion Creme Exfoliant (I’ll be sharing a review of a whole line of products from this brand’s products very soon). I use a small amount on damp skin and use a very gentle circular motion on my skin. I focus on the parts of my face that don’t have rosacea symptoms, but I do go over the rosacea-prone areas very lightly, too. This product was developed by a rosacea sufferer who really understands what this skin condition needs from skin care, and I absolutely love it. I rinsed this product away with my hands and cool water and patted dry.
- Face cleansing – Next, I gave my face a deeper cleanse while leaving the natural protective oil barrier in place. For this, I use the Face Addition Soft Cleanser. I massage it into dry skin (cleansing on dry skin took some getting used to at first. Now it feels completely natural). Then, I used a damp and very soft face brush to gently rinse the cleanser away. I just bought the Joe Fresh face brush and while it’s soft, I found that several of the bristles fell out, and I wasn’t impressed with it. I’ll likely replace it with a better one soon. During a rosacea flare-up, it’s better to simply use fingertips and no brush.
- Face pH balance replacement – The next step was to cool my face and re-balance its pH levels with the Face Addiction Soft Tonic. When I first tested the Face Addiction Soft line, I didn’t think the Tonic did anything. I re-purchased everything except the Tonic…less than a month later, I re-ordered the Tonic, too. It makes a big difference.
- Light therapy – With a clean face, I sat down under my Dual Care (red and amber light) and the Pure Green light from Smarter Lights. I do both sides of my face with both lights. Each side of my face gets 2 minutes of each light.
- Facial treatment – I’m currently testing out a treatment and moisturizing product from Alon Labs, the Rewind Facial Lotion. If I stay inside during the winter, it’s moisturizing enough during the daytime. At night or if I head out into the cold winter wind, I tend to add another layer of moisture on top. It’s a surprising product that offers moisturizing without feeling even slightly heavy. It’s so light I always think my skin will be horribly flaky but that’s not the case. I’ll be doing a complete review on this product likely in February.
- Facial moisturizing – to give the skin on my face – which is naturally very dry – an extra moisture boost at night, I use the Face Addiction Soft Cream. My skin adores this cream. It’s rich and hydrating without being slimy or sticky. On Wednesday and Saturday nights, I follow this with the Face Addiction Hydrate Mask, but since January 1 was a Sunday, I’d already done the mask the night before, so I left it at the cream. That said, I have started using a cool little tool from e.l.f. It’s called the Facial Massager. It’s a little tool with rounded spikes that I gently roll over my face without pressing down at all. It promotes healthier circulation and encourages moisturizers to be absorbed. Since I otherwise “tap” moisturizers into my skin with my fingertips, this tool makes the process more efficient. (note: as I was looking up the name of that tool, I noticed that e.l.f. has a facial cleansing brush. I might try that one instead of my Joe Fresh one).
- Tooth brushing – I think we all know how to do this one. Just wanted to point out that I didn’t skip it and this is where it landed in my spa evening 😉
- Lip exfoliation – I discovered the wonders of lip scrubs this year. Used on a regular basis, I can gently keep my lips from getting super dry with those horrible peeling picks. I used the Beauty Treats Lip Scrub (in Almond Creme), which is gentle as well as cruelty-free. I rinsed that away after a brief lip scrubbing.
- Lip moisturizing – I used my favourite lip moisturizing product, the SBT Seabuckthorn Lip Balm. It looks and works just like a lip balm stick, but as soon as it applies, it becomes a luxurious lip oil that provides deep moisture.
- Foot exfoliating – Since I walk dogs every day, if I’m not careful, I could get foot calluses so thick that I’d get taller over time. To prevent having to buy specialty shoes, I use a Ped Egg, which is a weird little cheaply-made tool that does a shockingly good job at keeping feet soft, especially when it’s used weekly.
- Toenail polish – A new year means a new toenail polish colour. I nearly never use nail polish on my fingernails because it weakens and yellows my nails. I’d rather just keep my fingernails healthy and clean. My toes are another story. I love the look of clean, cared-for feet with a fun colour on the toenails. This time, I used a Sally Hanson Hard as Nails polish. It’s a deep cherry pink colour with a hint of glitter (but not actual sparkles, which I don’t like because they make it hard to remove). I used 2 coats.
- Foot moisturizing – Once the nail polish dried, I applied the SBT Seabuckthorn Heal to Toe Soothing Salve for feet. It feels great to massage into feet and I love the various oils it contains to moisturize while simultaneously prevent the growth of bacteria and other foot evils through ingredients such as tea tree oil. Once that was applied, I put on my trusty pineapple-print footy socks. That keeps the salve on my feet instead of all over my carpet…ew.
- Hand moisturizing – When my hands are done treating the rest of my body to all my various home spa products, it’s time for them to be moisturized. I use the SBT Seabuckthorn Hand Cream. It’s quite thick but absorbs surprisingly quickly. When I first tried it, I thought it would leave my hands greasy, but I was happy to discover that this was not the case. When I use it at night, my hands are super-soft the next morning.
- Cuticle and nail oil – I love taking good care of my nails, so beyond moisturizing with a cream, I also add a cuticle and nail oil. I usually like using a product with vitamin E and sweet almond oil. The last time I needed to buy it, the store was out of stock of my usual product, so I purchased the Witchcraft Almond Oil for Nails & Cuticles. It works nicely, but I don’t like its fragrance. That’s my only complaint about it. I dab it onto each nail and massage it into each nail and cuticle. The next morning, my nails look healthier. They don’t dry out and peel as easily.
After that, I take my hair down from the headband and topknot, and I head to bed. What a relaxing way to spend an evening! It was a great way to start the year. I hope I’ll keep this habit up on occasion. It would be good for my skin and keeping my anxiety disorder under control, for that matter.
I also hope this step-by-step description of my sensitive skin and rosacea home spa strategy helps you out, too! After all, we can all use extra tips for taking care of ourselves. Don’t forget to sip water the whole time!
Have you promised yourself to be better about your health and rosacea skin care this year? If so, please use the comments and let me know your plan or resolution. I can’t wait to find out. As much as I love sharing my own strategies, I like to read yours, too!
I’ll be posting again very soon. I will be reviewing the Celtic Complexion line of products, the Alon Labs Rewind Lotion, and I have several big things in the works to share with you in 2017. See you soon!