My Lazy-Day Skincare Routine

I’m always touting the importance of sticking to a skincare regime, and I maintain that consistency is the best way to see results. But what about those days when we get home late, or realize after a marathon Netflix or video game sesh that it’s the middle of the night and we really just need to go to bed?

Fear not, Fledglings, for I’ve been there. Sometimes you’re just tired. I have a kid on the way, so I’m even more tired at the moment, and going to be so-much-even-more-tired in the months to come. So what should I do? Should I let my skincare go? I don’t want to do that, it’s my favorite act of self-care! I always feel better prepared for the day and more relaxed if I’ve taken care of my skin. No, what I did was to find a few time-savers, and to pare down my nighttime routine to something simple and effective, for those nights when falling asleep needs to happen sooner rather than later, but I still want to look refreshed in the morning.

  1. Philosophy Purity Made Simple Cleansing Cloths – I found these at the Base Exchange the other day, having run out of my go-to Burt’s Bees cloths that I’d brought from the States. There’s something about using water to wash my face that seems to take forever-and-a-half. I can’t figure it out, but taking out one of these cloths and wiping my face and neck down really well seems so much quicker and easier. They cleanse well, and the cloth is just textured enough to exfoliate a little, but my skin doesn’t feel stripped or tight afterward. If I was really out of it, I could use one of these and fall into bed.
  2. Eye Cream or Stick – While we can skip a lot of the serums and masks and things for a night or two and be fine, cleansing and moisturizing pretty much need to happen daily, and especially at night. Under-eye moisturizer can help you look better-rested the next day, and since your skin does most of its self-repair each night, it’s good to treat it a little before you crash out. To that end, I like an under-eye stick for easy application. A couple of swipes to each eye, and I’m done! A good eye cream can help reduce puffiness, something I’m very prone to if I didn’t sleep well (or enough) the night before.
  3. May Coop Raw Moisturizer – Whether or not I apply a good coat of moisturizer at night can make or break my morning skin, I’ve found. So before I head off to bed, I always make sure to swipe on a good amount of seasonally-appropriate moisturizer. I use Raw Moisturizer in fall and winter, because my skin gets drier, and we’ll have to see how German spring and summer do for my skin as far as my moisture needs. Back in Texas, I was enamored with Tatcha’s Water Cream. It was a deep moisturizer that didn’t ‘cling’ to my skin so much that it caused breakouts or a greasy feeling. If you’re prone to oily skin or breakouts, this is a good overnight moisturizer. If your skin leans more toward the combination side, Raw Moisturizer is a lovely middle ground.
  4. Dry Shampoo – Oh yeah, some nights I’m too tired to even shower. But my roots will tell on me the next day if I don’t do something about it. I have dark hair, and I’ve found that the trick to using dry shampoo effectively is to put it on at night, and then by morning the white, chalky residue it leaves behind has gone away, due to it having longer to absorb the oils in my hair. If I put it on in the morning, I look like I’ve aged twenty years, because I’m suddenly gray at the temples – not a bad look, but also not what I’m going for.  This loose powder is my current fave, because it leaves much less white residue than the spray-on variety in the first place. While I don’t normally brush my hair in the morning, because frizz, I will do so when I’ve got dry shampoo in, to redistribute it and the oils in my hair. If I do get frizzy, I use a little bit of Lush’s Sunny Day anti-frizz spray to calm it down and make my hair smell nice.

For my face and my hair, those four steps take maybe 5 minutes, tops, and I can brush my teeth, then scamper off and get some much-needed sleep, secure in the knowledge that I won’t have much damage control to do in the mornings. Obviously, if you wear makeup, you’ll need to take care to remove your makeup and cleanse properly before heading to bed – nothing wrecks your skin faster than sleeping with makeup on. But if you’re like me and only do that once in a while, this routine is good for those nights when you just can’t be bothered, so that you can get to bed sooner, but still feel good about caring for your skin properly.

See you in a couple weeks with some more product reviews and skincare tips. Sleep well, Fledglings! Leave a comment to tell me your favorite lazy-day skincare product.

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New Country, New Skin: How my Skincare Routine has Changed in Germany

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As I’ve mentioned before, I recently moved to Germany from Texas. One of the things I didn’t expect to change was my skin, but change it did! Between the cold winter air and the different mineral content in the water supply, I’m finding my skin and hair to be much, much drier than it was back in Texas, where I was basically just a big grease-ball all the time.

Obviously, the combination/oily skincare routine I’d worked out in the states was no longer going to cut it here. To add to the confusion, I had to cancel my PinkSeoul box (*cries*) due to budgetary constraints and the extended time it would take to ship. I may pick it back up again – I’d really like to – but when you move to another country, it’s expensive. Cutting costs is pretty much unavoidable. On the bright side, now I get to explore German skincare, and(!) Etude House ships to Germany! When one door closes, another opens.

But while I wait to explore all the new skincare options open to me, what to do about my newly-dry skin? Here are the products that have saved me so far:

  • Tatcha Classic Rice Enzyme Powder – Did you think I was giving up on Tatcha? No, their stuff is still my absolute favorite. Although I had stellar results with the Deep Polish Rice Enzyme Powder, it was actually too harsh after the move. I noticed my skin feeling pretty dry and getting redder than usual, so once I finished that bottle, I went back to the Classic for something that would still help me exfoliate, but was a little more gentle. Turns out, my skin still suffers from a bit of dullness, and the regular exfoliation of a rice cleanser really does help, but I didn’t need the fine-grit polish of the cleanser made for oily skin anymore.
  • May Coop Raw Sauce and Raw Moisturizer – May Coop products were my ‘sometimes’ items back in Texas, as their line is slightly more moisturizing than what I needed most of the year. Normally the Raw Moisturizer was my night cream in the winter, and the Raw Sauce was an as-needed product if my skin felt a little dry in the mornings. Now the Raw Moisturizer is an every-night affair (and I use a lot more), and the Raw Sauce is my go-to toner and skin prep for underneath makeup and before masking. Tatcha cleanser doesn’t require a toner afterwards, but the toner/essence combo of the Raw Sauce makes for a good layer of light moisture for daytime if it feels like my sunscreen isn’t going to provide the hydration I need that day.
  • Goodal Dewy Flower Face Mist – Since I can’t really predict how dry my skin is going to feel on a given day, this face mist has been a lifesaver. It’s very light, so I can use it as often as I need to, the packaging doesn’t leak, and it smells just heavenly. Whenever my skin is feeling tight or itchy, I give it a few sprays with this mist and it immediately feels better, without leaving any kind of film or oil behind.

It’s taken a bit of trial and error, and I am still looking for other products that work for my skin, but I’ve struck a good balance so far. I’m going to do a separate post about my new hair care routine, so keep an eye out for that!

Happy Holidays, Fledglings!

Goo Hoarding and How to Stop

 

We’ve all been there, right? You open your bathroom cabinet or drawer, and you think to yourself, “How did I acquire this much goo???” Moisturizers, serums, hair product, perfumes, it all just piles up as you find a thing here or there and add it to the cabinet.

Since I’m getting ready to move, it’s time for me to look at the parts of my life that tend to get cluttered. For me, that’s clothing and skin care products. I’m doing well on the clothing at the moment, because I put a moratorium on buying new seasonal clothes since we’re moving somewhere with a different climate. The only things I’ve added to the closet are wardrobe basics, and when I add something new, I put something old in the donation pile.

But I hadn’t really looked at my skin care in a bit, so I figured it was a good time to address that. There’s no point in shipping things I don’t need, and risking them leaking or breaking in transit.

Here are my favorite tips for keeping your goo-cabinet from getting out of hand.

  1. Use bins. They’re a life-saver. Whether it’s shoe boxes, cute bins you bought, or the smaller boxes from a Lush shipment, use some sort of containers to compartmentalize your things and help keep you in check. If everything is supposed to be in a container, then you know it’s time to throw things out when it doesn’t all fit in said container. The other great thing about using these is that I know exactly where my products are. One box is only hair and bath stuff, one box is only skin care, one box is only essential oils, etc. When I need to go rummaging, I pull down the appropriate box, find what I need, then put it all back in the box and re-shelve it. Even if it’s just tossed in there with no order to it, my products *look* organized when I look at the shelf, because they’re contained in boxes. Personally, I like to reuse small boxes that I get packages mailed in, so that I’m staying organized and creating less waste.
  2. Go through your goo periodically. A quarterly goo-purging is probably all you need. Set a reminder on your phone, or put a sticky note on your bathroom cabinet with the date on it. When it’s time, pull ALL your stuff out onto the counter, take it all out of the boxes, and survey your collection. Do you love and use every single one of these products? Chuck anything that you were underwhelmed with, that’s mostly empty and you’re not using anymore, or that you bought on a whim because it looked cool but realized you’re never going to use it. If you bought a new toner that’s the best thing ever, you can get rid of your old, less-awesome toners. When are you going to use the mediocre ones in place of your new fave? Is anything in that box broken or leaking? Toss it; you don’t need puddles of dried stuff all over your cabinet. If you have a friend who’s into skin care, see if they want to give those ‘good but not for me’ products a test run instead of throwing them out. It can be your good deed for the day.
  3. Try to use up a product before replacing. This is hard to do, but it will save you money and space. If you’ve got a cleanser that works well for you, use it up completely before trying a new cleanser. Sometimes, I’ll get overwhelmed with products and I’ll have to stop buying things until I can use up some of what I have. I hate to waste product, especially if it works well, so to regain control of my cabinet, I take buying breaks where I just use what I have for as long as I can. Sometimes it’ll take me several months to use things up to the point of needing a replacement. That’s several months of not spending money on new products, and several months of slowly freeing up space in my bathroom. The products you’re already using must be working – if they made you break out, you wouldn’t be using them – so keep using them until you get the full value of what you bought. Don’t throw good money away if you don’t have to.
  4. Shop with space in mind. If you’re trying out a product for the first time, especially if it’s an expensive one, get a travel size or sample first. It will take up less room in your cabinet, and if you hate it, you can throw it away without feeling like you wasted a ton of money on a full-sized product that turned out to be a bad fit. Probably 90% of my Sephora purchases come from the little stands of travel products, because unless I know for a fact that a given product is going to work great on my skin, I don’t want to pay full price for it. That’s a big gamble; some oil cleansers can cost $50 or so. I don’t want to realize that was a mistake.
  5. Take advantage of return policies. One of the many good things about Sephora is their return policy. You can open up and use a product, and if it doesn’t work for you or makes you break out, you can return it. Their policy says products have to be ‘new or gently used.’ So don’t try to return something you used half of, but if you tried it once and hated it, and you still have your receipt, you can take it back and get a refund. Check the return policies of other places you shop as well; don’t keep products sitting around that you don’t like.
  6. Know your skin type. Buying products that are made for skin like yours will save you a ton of grief and money. If you don’t know your skin type, you’re basically just guessing every time you buy a new product, and hoping it will work. That’s got to get expensive after a while, not to mention leaving you with a cabinet full of failed goo purchases. I just learned a great way to find your skin type: get a piece of blotting paper, and pat your face with it in the middle of the day, well after you’ve washed your face. If the paper comes away soaked with oil and almost completely translucent, you have oily skin. If you have a few translucent spots but not enough to cover the blotting paper, your skin is combination. And if the paper comes away from your face like you hardly did anything to the paper at all, then your skin is dry. How easy is that? You can also ask your local skin care store rep to help you suss out your skin type before you start spending money; they know their stuff and are usually happy to help.

As Alton Brown says, organization will set you free. Nobody wants to open their cabinets in the morning and deal with a crapalanche of old products – we need our mornings to be easy, because sleep is good and digging through a packed cabinet just starts our day off on a frustrating note. When your products are easy to find, appropriate for your skin, and have intact packaging, your morning routine will be infinitely easier to pull off, so that you can leave the house looking and feeling fab.

BirdFashion Road Trip Essentials


I don’t know about your part of the world, but it certainly feels like summer here in Texas. What better time than now for a good old-fashioned road trip? It’s a summer staple in America; we have books and movies and songs about the event, and to my mind, it’s an excellent chance to experience something new without ever having to get in a TSA line.

I just got through with a wonderful road trip with my parents and sister. We drove from Texas to Massachusetts, and it was incredible. On this trip, I not only saw some gorgeous sights, ate amazing food, and talked to friendly people, but I was inspired to blog about what I wore and took with me that made my road trip even better. If you’re hitting the road this summer, here are some suggestions on what you can bring along to enjoy the journey just a little bit more.

  • Clothing that isn’t restrictive – It wouldn’t be a road trip without hours spent in the car, so your clothing choice is going to determine a lot of your comfort on this trip. Structured waistbands are probably not your friend here; opt for sundresses, maxi skirts, or leggings and tunic tops. Nobody looks good after ten hours in a packed car, so embrace it and get comfy! For undergarments, bust out your comfiest sports bra or t-shirt bra. You don’t need underwires trying to shank you while you’re napping against the car window. When you consider shoes, consider the weather, but have one pair of slides or flip-flops that you can wear while you’re actually in the car. Sitting for a long time makes your feet swell, so you need something you can kick off. You can pack your comfy or cute shoes in the trunk for sightseeing once you stop for the day.
  • Some way to be alone – This sounds counter-intuitive, since you’re going on a road trip to go somewhere *with people* right? But let’s be realistic here: after a couple days on the road, you’re gonna run out of things to talk about, or people’s normal habits are going to get annoying. You can create some privacy for yourself even when you’re crammed into a vehicle together, but it takes some preparation. If you like to read (and can do so without getting carsick), pack a novel or two to get lost in, or bring your Kindle. Does music soothe your soul? Bring an external charger for your phone and some comfortable earbuds so you can get your groove on without a dead phone ruining your day. Coloring books (like my personal favorite) or small craft projects are good options too, as long as you have plenty of sealable storage options for your supplies. Losing a 64-pack of colored pencils under the seats wouldn’t go over well with the driver.
  • A way to record the journey – You’re going to want to celebrate and remember this epic trip you’re taking, so bring along a way to memorialize it! Ditch the phone-camera and bring a legit video camera along if you have (or can borrow) one. Or if you want to travel light and aren’t going for an HD movie experience, keep your phone and post some good moments to Facebook Live or Snapchat so your friends can follow along. Of course, if you’re feeling lo-fi and a little artsy, you can always go for a journal or a sketchbook. Bonus with those last two: you never need to charge them.
  • Car-appropriate skin care – Long car rides to places with different elevations, weather, and allergens can do a number on your precious skin, and leave you looking like the road you came in on when you disembark. In addition to your regular morning and nighttime skin routines when you get to your AirBnB, consider an in-car skincare pack. You can use this for skin emergencies, or boredom emergencies (car spa party for the passengers?). Pack a small bag with moisturizing face mist, sheet masks, cleansing wipes, body lotion, and a travel-friendly refreshing eye cream. Depending on what your skin does in the car, you’ll have a chance to address it on the go without making a mess. Don’t forget to put that sunscreen on everyday!
  • A sense of adventure! – There is no such thing as a perfect road trip. You might get lost, have a flat, get into an argument with your car-mates, or find out when you get there that the art gallery you really wanted to see is closed for renovation. It’s disappointing, and it’s *completely* okay to feel bad when things go wrong. But road trips are about having an adventure, and those disappointments can either be just disappointing, or they can be part of the adventure. Getting lost may take you through countryside you wouldn’t have seen otherwise. That argument could end in one of those deep, soul-searching conversations you wouldn’t have had otherwise. Your favorite gallery might have been closed, but what else is in that town that might similarly blow your mind? I can’t guarantee you road-trip success, Fledglings, but I can say with some certainty that if you practice optimism and gratitude the whole way, it will be much easier to roll with any surprises that come your way, pleasant or not-so-much.

Safe travels! Comment with some photos or stories about your own road trips and what products you can’t leave home without.

In Defense of Ritual

Hey Fledglings. Let’s talk about ‘busy,’ and why it’s not doing us any favors.

We all try to pretend that we can go full-throttle through life, reacting to whatever gets flung at us, and that this tactic is both sustainable and a path to real happiness. But how many of us are happy, and how many of us are just stressed out? Sure, we feel important and needed when we schedule every second of our day, but what’s all that ‘busy’ getting us, other than a stress headache?

I know what you’re thinking: “Oh, I’m busy *now*, but eventually things are going to calm down. You know, when I’m more successful/make more money/replace my car/finish school/etc.”

Is that true, though? Think really hard about this. Is your compulsively-busy life in pursuit of a specific goal, after which you have a concrete plan to change your habits? I’m betting that, like so many before you, you’re more likely to be using your busy life as an excuse to not deal with some things. I know I’ve pretended to be ‘too important/needed/busy’ to face down my negative thoughts, bad relationships, or horrible finances before. Take my advice; that’s not a sustainable plan. Life catches up, whether you want it to or not.

If we have goals in life, doing everything we could ever do ever, is not the way to reach them – it’s a good way to wind up on blood pressure medication, but it is not a good way to reach your goals. To achieve the things we want to achieve in life, the main thing we need is FOCUS. Remember how we talked about SMART goals a while back? Well, taking on All The Things, whether or not they serve our goals, just because we want to feel needed, does not fall in line with the theory behind SMART goals.

So what’s a lady to do? How can we better achieve our life goals, actually feel happy right NOW, and become comfortable with looking at ourselves and our own thoughts?

This is where ritual comes in. I’m not talking about religion, although if that’s your thing, by all means make it happen. I’m talking about the kind of ritual we can build into our daily lives, the kind that gives us time to focus on our own thoughts and goals and how we can improve them. If you’re constantly on the run from one thing to the next thing, you don’t have time to do that. So, are you reaching your goals? How would you know? You haven’t sat down in a month and a half; where are you even at on your way to those goals?

This is why I love Korean skincare. Yeah, it makes my face look and feel amazing, but it also comprises about twenty minutes of each day where I do nothing but take care of myself. During that time, I can let my mind wander. I can ponder things that are stressing me out, or things I’d like to change. I can think about my goals and if I’m doing enough to reach them. Taking time to just think is absolutely crucial to being successful in life – if you slow down for a bit, you can choose your path more carefully, and the ritual of a full skincare routine forces you to slow down.

Embrace your thoughts, even the negative ones – they’re there for a reason. If something is not right in your world, you have an opportunity to change it, but only if you know what’s going on. Paying attention to how you think and feel for a few minutes each day, maybe while you moisturize, is a good way to acknowledge that things could be better for you, and then take steps toward making things better.

I try to relax in the bathtub for a while at least once a week. It’s where I can let my mind wander for a bit, relax my sore muscles, and just be silent. Yet again, this ritual is great for me feeling grounded and able to take on the rest of the week. I usually put on a sheet mask while I’m at it, because I might as well do it up right! Heck, just making time to blog today is helping me put my own goals into perspective. I need to do that sometimes, and you do too. So let’s build a little more ritual into our lives, so that we can use that time to focus ourselves and be more successful during the rest of the day.

Here are some suggestions for time you can take to be quiet and focus:

  • Morning and evening skin routine (get that sheet mask going, you literally can’t do anything for fifteen minutes)
  • Religious services, if that’s your jam
  • Yoga/meditation class
  • Working out
  • Bath or shower time
  • A meditation app, like Headspace

No, that last bit isn’t getting me any money; I just downloaded the app about a month ago, and it’s kind of changed my life. It’s a series of ten-minute mindfulness meditations to help you focus and be aware of yourself and your surroundings. It’s fantastic.

Ordering your day so that you can include a ritual or two can open up so many possibilities. It doesn’t have to take a ton of time – the things I suggested take between ten minutes and one hour – but adding in some you-time will help you reach your goals more directly. If you feel like you’re flailing around trying to reach your goals, or even trying to figure out what those goals are, try and put some more rituals into your daily routine. Get used to moving from one thing to the next as you get ready for bed, or when you come home at the end of the day. See how it feels to relax your mind a little and just be with your thoughts.

I’ve gotten some good results from this. I bet you will too.

Natural Deodorant: Making the Switch

In the last blog, I reviewed Lavanila’s natural deodorant, and how it’s an overall good product. This week, I’m going to give you some hints if you want to switch to a gentler, less-processed brand of deodorant. It’s a bit of an adjustment, but if it’s a move you want to make, I’m here to ease the transition. Like I said a couple weeks ago, you’ll still get good results once you’ve adjusted to it.

If you’ve never switched from big-box to natural deodorant before, here are some things you should know before you make the leap.

  1. There’s an adjustment period for your body. Big-box deodorant has a bigger effect on your skin than you’d think – your body gets used to you using it all the time, so when you first stop using it, you’ll probably feel a tiny bit sweaty and/or smelly for a week or two while your skin adjusts to not being coated with metallic powder (Wikipedia says there’s no link between deodorant and health problems, as does the FDA, so going natural is an entirely aesthetic decision, but yeah, metallic powder). The excessive sweating calms down after that time, because your body has adjusted to life without the chemical stuff. You might just need to wash more often during that adjustment time.
  2. There’s an adjustment period for your mind too. The thing about chemical deodorant is that it makes your sweat smell like whatever insane fragrance they’re running that production cycle, so you kind of forget how humans are supposed to smell. When you start smelling like a human again, i.e. no longer sweating perfume, it’s a little unnerving. For a bit there, I couldn’t shake the idea that I smelled and everyone knew it. In Western society, that’s a pretty big problem. But I ran it by some close friends (because what are friends for?), and my mom has never been one to mince words if I smelled weird because her nose is as sensitive as mine, and it turns out it was all in my head. No, I didn’t smell like Coconut Moonbeam, but I didn’t ‘stink’ either. What a relief.
  3. You can’t reapply. You know the drill: you didn’t shower last night, you need to get out the door, so you put on another layer of deodorant and some body spray and it’s fine until you can shower after work, right? Not so with the natural stuff. It doesn’t have as many, or the same kind of, preservatives as the chemical stuff, so it soaks into your skin and wears off by the end of the day. If you’re an every-other-day shower-er, you might find yourself needing to just wash your pits with a washrag on your off days, so that you can reapply the deodorant to freshly-cleaned skin. It doesn’t fail to work entirely if you skip this step, but it definitely doesn’t work as well as if you’d washed up.
  4. There are two kinds of sweat. I knew this academically from a couple of Anatomy and Physiology classes I took in college, but it was a different story when I smelled the effects on myself, and it was a little surprising at first. Regular, daily sweat that’s there to regulate your body temperature doesn’t really smell all that much – natural deodorant handles this kind of sweat easily, even if it’s from working out. But then there’s stress sweat. Yikes. Stress sweat has some other chemicals in it, because  you’re sweating due to a different biological process that I won’t bore you with, so if you nearly get rear-ended, or your boss starts yelling at you, you might just start sweating in such a way that your deodorant can’t keep up. It’s not the end of the world, and it’s entirely possible that you’re the only one who can tell, but it is surprising when it first happens, because again, you’re no longer sweating Coconut Moonbeam, you’re sweating regular sweat like humans do, so you kind of become more aware of what’s going on in your body. For me, that’s a good thing, but it might not be for you. It’s good to be informed.
  5. Oh yeah – you start sweating again. It’s damnear impossible to find a mainstream brand of deodorant in America that isn’t also an antiperspirant. For the record, deodorant = not smelly, antiperspirant = not sweating. That metallic powder I mentioned earlier actually clogs up your sweat glands, which is what keeps you from sweating. It’s one of the reasons I switched – personally, I think we’re supposed to sweat. Natural deodorant doesn’t have that antiperspirant factor at all, so you have to get used to sweating again, just not smelling rank when you do it. Like I said, the extra sweating calms down after a bit, but if it’s hot out, you’re just going to sweat. The upside of this, however, is that while the big-box deodorant can sometimes cake onto your shirt when you sweat and be hard to wash out or stain your clothes, the natural stuff doesn’t do that. My clothes get cleaner and last longer if I’m just sweating normal human-sweat and not ‘sweat mixed with god-knows-what and Coconut Moonbeam fragrance.’
  6. It helps if you shave. Look, I’m not against armpit hair on anyone of any gender. It’s hair, and it’s on you, so I don’t care. But this isn’t an aesthetic thing – natural deodorant actually works better if it’s applied to hairless skin. It gets to soak into your skin better without hair getting in the way. Since it’s a gentler product, you kinda have to give it a leg-up by making sure it has the best chance to come into contact with your actual skin, which is the part that’s sweating. Also, more hair = more body odor. Why fight an uphill battle?

Hopefully this will arm you (see what I did there?) with some knowledge before you up your natural-skincare game. You may need to try a few brands before you find one that works, but once you do, I hope you enjoy the results. Happy hunting!

Cold Season Skin Care

We’ve talked about seasonal skin care on here before, but I realized the other day, as I was nursing a cold, that there’s another type of skin care challenge that sort of ties in with that seasonal talk I already did:

How do you help your skin bounce back after you’ve been sick?

My cold-season skin arsenal.

For the purposes of this post, when I say ‘sick’ I mean a cold, the flu, allergies, etc. I would think that if I had something more serious than that I’d be much less concerned about my skin. But since most of us are likely to get one of those three illnesses at some point this winter (hopefully not all three!), I think it’s a good idea to go over some tips for helping take care of yourself on the outside while you fight off The Ick on the inside.

  1. Focus on getting healthy again. This means taking your meds if needed/doctor-approved, eating healthy, drinking tons of water, and resting. Not only will this help you get over your crud sooner, these are already good tips for healthy skin when you’re not sick. Get the basics handled, so that all the rest is easier.
  2. Up your moisture game. Your body is diverting all its fluids to helping fight off your cold, so not only do you need extra moisture inside, you need it outside too. Between decongestants that dry out your whole body – skin included – and blowing your nose every ten seconds, your face probably gets red, raw, and dried out, even if it’s normally oily. Add a nighttime moisturizer or sleep pack to your routine, or up your sheet mask frequency, to replenish what your skin is losing. Don’t forget your eye cream to reduce sneezing-related puffiness and dark circles. You can gently massage your under-eye area with some eye cream to break up some of the swelling.
  3. Stick to your skin routine as much as you can. I know, you’re tired and feel awful. But using what’s left of your energy to at least do your nighttime skin routine will keep your face from rebelling against you while you’re sick. You have my permission to skip a serum or mask step; I know you’re not up for it. If you’re taking lots of hot showers to open up your breathing passages, wash your face while you’re in there. Don’t forget your daily sunscreen, even if you are camped out on the couch. If nothing else, you’re maintaining a good habit so that you keep doing it after you’re back in action.
  4. Utilize essential oils. No, I don’t mean to cure your cold – pretty sure those claims are bogus. But all those oils I talked about for skin care can also be really soothing when you’re sick. Lavender helps you sleep if you put a drop on your pillowcase or a cotton ball, and my personal favorite for cold care is eucalyptus – I put some eucalyptus oil on a washrag and hung it in the shower, then got the water really hot. It basically created a vapor steam in my bathroom, and while the apartment smelled like a koala bear for days, it really helped calm my aches and wheezing to shower that way.

Cold and flu season is a pain, but there are good things already in your home that you can use to combat it and to help your skin bounce back sooner. This way, you’ll be feeling better AND you won’t have to hear people saying things like ‘Are you sick? You look tired.’ Nobody needs that while they’re getting over a cold.