Beauty Report: How to de-stress before bed

During a time of stress, there’s a lot to be said for being kind to your body

 

I often get scoffed, dismissive responses when I mention the impact that beauty products can have on stress. It’s not that cosmetics in themselves have any overarching power to melt away genuine stressors or diminish anxiety, but taking the time to use a product, and giving yourself (or someone else) a peaceful, sensory experience before bed can help the process of winding down and getting back into your body after a frantic day.

Beauty isn’t important – its whole purpose is to make life a little nicer, and to improve wellbeing, however minutely.

Silk pillowcases are becoming increasingly popular because they diminish hair’s mischievous tendency to become frizzy and nest-like as you move in your sleep. Since silk is thinner and infinitely softer than cotton, it also allows the skin to breathe more and won’t leave what look suspiciously like violent slashes on your cheeks when you wake up.

The Ethical Silk Company is Irish, and divides 10 per cent of its profits between Focus Ireland and the Jeevan Jothi AIDS centre in Theni, making the gift of one of their ethically produced pillowcases (€40) the perfect option for anyone dealing with illness. It’s also a lovely gift to give yourself, just to make bed time that little bit nicer. The pillowcases are machine washable and, if cared for correctly, will cradle your head for a lifetime, outliving many a cotton pillow case.

Aveda Stress-Fix Composition Oil (€30) is a beautiful multifunctional blend of naturally derived plant oils. A perfect body moisturiser before bed, the aromas of lavender, lavandin and clary sage are positively transporting. Rub it all over the body for divine scent and moisturisation, or massage it into to your hands and cuticles to relieve tension and help the scent to linger in the air as you drift off to sleep. Add a few drops to a hot bath, and you’ll struggle to do anything but relax.

NEOM Intensive Treatment Candle (€43) comes in two versions. The Real Luxury version contains lavender, jasmine and Brazilian rosewood; a calming blend of fragrances designed to de-stress.

Though I love a scented candle, this is more than just that. Burn this for 30 minutes, then extinguish it and let it cool for a minute or two. Use the spout to pour the creamy cocoa butter, soybean and almond natural wax formula on to the skin and massage it in. Those who are ill or bedridden often miss tactile contact with others and can really benefit from massage.

Rubbed into hands, arms or legs, the Intensive Treatment candle fills a room with intense fragrance, but also feels warm and creamily smooth on the skin.

It’s perfect for massage, and a little goes a long way. The scent of the burning candle will linger in a room for hours after it has been extinguished.

When relaxation is the goal, soft lighting, soothing fragrances and comforting textures will help, and during a time of stress, there’s a lot to be said for being kind to your body.

lkennedy@irishtimes.com

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