Talking about beauty might seem frivolous in trying times like these. However, beauty is inherently tied to self-care, something that tends to our physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Ever since I started staying home, I’ve gotten more in-tune with myself and my beauty habits. And after two months of the Circuit Breaker, I’ve learnt five beauty things that I’d gladly continue to do after CB has ended.
Beauty things I learnt during the Circuit Breaker
1. Wear makeup if it makes you happy
I’m quite a practical person, so wearing makeup at home isn’t necessary for me to tackle the day ahead. That being said, I work in a beauty publication for many reasons — one of which is the joy I get from experimenting with makeup.
The Circuit Breaker has given me plenty of time to catch up on TV shows, and Euphoria (above) has easily become one of my favourites. The eye makeup looks put me in a trance, so I looked up Doniella Davy, the show’s makeup artist. After trawling her Instagram feed, I bought myself a jar of Lemonhead LA Houdini Spacepaste, a glitter paste that looks magical when it catches the light.
Since then, I’ve been playing around with it by smearing some on my lids or under my eyes. (Doniella’s go-to are glitter tears.) I can do this whenever I want, and that’s the beauty of it. If putting on makeup at home makes you happy or gives you a sense of control, then do it. We all have our ways of dealing with the pandemic, and it shouldn’t be shamed.
2. Give your skin a break when it needs one
Since we’re all cooped up at home, I thought it would be a great time to try out the lotions and potions I’d been neglecting. With all that constant product rotation, you can probably guess what happened next. My carelessness paved the way for clogged pores, breakouts, and a flushed face. (Go on then, I can feel you shaking your head as you read this.)
A five-step routine became a 12-step one, and it presented way more problems than the products claimed to solve. However, I’ve since pared my routine down to three simple steps: cleanse, tone, and moisturise. On top of that, I’ll also layer on sunscreen during the day and remove it with an oil cleanser at night.
If my skin needs a hand, I swipe the Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Exfoliant (left) on congested areas or smother it with I’m From’s Mugwort Mask (right). The latter sounds like a wizard’s concoction and smells like Chinese medicine, but it really brings down the redness on my cheeks and forehead.
Of course, when new skincare launches start landing on my desk again, I’ll scramble to unbox them and try them out. But if my skin’s feeling a little overwhelmed, at least there’s a healing routine I know I can run back to.
3. Put on a pimple patch to prevent acne scarring
As someone who regularly picks at her skin, keeping my hands off my face can be a challenge once I’ve honed in on a zit. Since mittens are out of the question, I’ve learnt to stick pimple patches on blemishes to prevent scarring.
Rael’s Miracle Patches (above) are thin hydrocolloid patches that look pretty invisible when you tack them on, so you can wear them out. I came across some of the cutest pimple patches and rounded them up in a recent article too. I plan on adorning my face with a few of them when we can all head out for drinks and karaoke.
4. Slow down your beauty routine
The pandemic can take an emotional toll on anyone. Add a chunk of stress from work or home into the mix, and you’ve got yourself an impending breakdown. To unwind, I turn up the volume on my portable speaker while I take a long shower. This really helps to melt away any anxiety and tension.
A surprising thing that has helped ease my stress during this period is giving myself a gua sha facial massage (above). Similar to a regular massage, gua sha relaxes my facial muscles and puts me in zen mode. After doing this for about two months, I haven’t found the need for a depuffing eye gel or vitamin C serum. My skin has been able to heal quicker on its own too, and it looks more radiant now.
If you’re unsure of how to use the gua sha tool you have, I’ve put everything you need to know about it in a step-by-step guide here. Take your time while you’re doing it—it’s all part of keeping your stress levels down.
5. Heal your skin from within
When I’m snowed under with stress, my skin reacts very visibly. It shows me that it has had enough by flaring up in red patches and planting seismic zits on my face. So when I read about adaptogenic supplements one day, I knew I had to try them in a bid to heal my body.
Our cortisol levels spike when we’re feeling overwhelmed, which can signal our sebaceous glands to produce more sebum. That’s a one-way ticket to clogged pores and acne. What adaptogens do is help your body adapt by lowering your cortisol levels. These herbs can also offer immunity-boosting benefits to support your overall well-being. A huge plus during a time like this.
After taking Moon Juice’s SuperYou Daily Stress Management (above) for about two weeks now, I definitely feel a difference. While I still experience stress and all its wonderful anxiety-inducing effects, I feel calmer when faced with new challenges. My skin doesn’t erupt in spots as much, and I sleep better at night too.