We often make a big production of getting ready in the morning—I know I do: I try on a few pairs of shoes (heels or flats? heels or flats?), I apply at least eight different cosmetics—and that’s not including toner, serum, and sunscreen—and then I must drink my green “beauty” smoothie. But when it comes time to hit the hay, it can be difficult to stay upright as I’m brushing my teeth—let alone perform an elaborate nightly beauty routine. In truth, though, it’s really not so elaborate or daunting. Here are 9 Beauty Sleep Musts that you can incorporate into your own bedtime ritual for healthier skin and hair every morning.
In the evening:
1. Stop eating at least two hours before you crawl between the sheets. I try to abide by the 8PM rule. If I get a little hungry at night, I drink a glass of warm almond milk—calming and hydrating! Allowing your food to fully digest before you go to bed means that you won’t be devoting “sleep energy” to digestion. Your body can focus on repairing skin and growing beautiful, strong hair.
2. Detox with hot lemon water. After your dinner is mostly digested, it’s nice to drink a mug of hot lemon water. Among its many benefits, lemon water aids digestion (see above) and delivers skin-loving, immunity-boosting vitamin C (one reason why consuming lemon juice is beneficial for acne sufferers.) For a little variety, alternate hot lemon water with one of our favorite caffeine-free beauty teas.
3. Take a probiotic supplement. Probiotic supplements complement the natural detoxification benefits of eating a healthy, plant-based diet. Consuming them daily can reduce bloating, improve digestion, and fight off harmful bacteria that may contribute to breakouts. Garden of Life makes my favorite variety of probiotic supplements. They’re sourced from whole foods and are so gentle on my stomach.
In the bathroom:
4. Removing your makeup is non-negotiable. After this necessary step, nourish your skin with an antioxidant serum. I like mixing Sally B’s Skin Yummies Antioxidant Skin Boost (high in vitamin C) with serum containing vitamin A. Vitamins A and C work synergistically to repair skin damage, boost collagen, and improve overall glow. Vitamin C is most effective in powder form since it begins to lose potency as soon as it’s mixed with other serums or gels. As you sleep, your skin temperature rises, which increases the likelihood that your products will be absorbed.
5. After applying serum, don’t forget to moisturize. Now is a great time to hit all the spots—rub your feet, elbows, and knees with a heavy cream, massage cuticle oil around your nails, run organic coconut oil through the ends of your hair, and slather your face with your favorite facial moisturizer—I like organic argan oil for healing acne and dryness.
6. Whiten your teeth once a week. I used to think the only way to whiten your teeth was investing in expensive (and uncomfortable) strips and trays. Avoid weird synthetic chemicals, tooth sensitivity, and possible animal testing by whitening your teeth with baking soda (this coffee drinker trusts her pearlies to nothing less). After brushing your teeth, use your toothbrush to apply a thumb of baking soda to your teeth. Let it sit for five minutes then rinse well. (This treatment works best if you don’t eat or drink anything for 1 hour afterwards.) Now your morning will be even brighter!
In the bedroom:
7. Turn down the heat and turn up the humidity. Lowering the temperature is a good way to ensure you won’t wake up feeling dry—and if you feel dry, you know your skin is suffering. If you live in a dry climate and your hair won’t freak out, increase the moisture in the room with a humidifier. A slightly humid atmosphere can sooth dry skin and help prevent further dryness. A small, simple device will do. We like this one, which we snagged with a Bed, Bath, & Beyond coupon.
8. Make friends with aromatherapy. Chamomile, vanilla, and lavender are soothing scents than can help you chill out when your mind is still racing from the day. A deep, anxiety-free sleep ensures that you’ll be more radiant and energetic in the morning. Dab a little lavender oil on your pulse points or mix a few drops with water in a spray bottle and give your pillow a good misting. (Avoid stimulating citrus scents when you’re trying to unwind.)
9. Sleep on a satin pillowcase. Silky satin is much softer on hair than regular cotton. Sleeping on a satin pillowcase can reduce static, tangling, and general “roughing up.” When I sleep on cotton, I get really bad pillow creases on my face—temporary but still ugh. This tends to happen a lot less when I sleep on satin. Wash your pillowcase weekly to keep skin-harming bacteria at bay.
What is your favorite bedtime ritual? Discuss!
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Photos: Flood G via Flickr, B Furnari via Flickr, Jim Blann via Flickr