And relax: the mindful beauty routines that can help you de-stress

Feeling frazzled? Time to join the hygge beauty revolution
Katharine Asher

It’s easy to dismiss the beauty world as frivolous. But if you’ve ever felt the worries of the day disappear down the plughole after a warm bath on a chilly night, you’ll know that the power of pampering can run deep. According to a Mintel report, 59% of women say their beauty routine helps them relax. And in a time when everyone seems more frantic than ever, that’s not a stat to be sniffed at.

In fact, the feel-good power of beauty has been getting its dues recently. When the trend for hygge (pronounced hug-gah) – the Danish concept of cosiness and contentment – burst into our lives, there was a celebration of long soaks in warm baths and face masks as a legitimate Saturday-night plan: a chance to be mindful and take pleasure in simple things.

Then came this year’s biggest wellbeing trend – self-care – which emphasises the importance of addressing your own basic needs to bolster your emotional and mental health. Little things such as slathering on moisturiser were framed in a new light: as acts of kindness to oneself.

‘Concentrating on the more holistic, self-care element of even the most basic parts of your beauty routine can help you feel calmer and more centred,’ says Nicola Sapsed, group spa development manager at Champneys. ‘Given that most of us lead busy lives, it makes sense to use your beauty regime as a chance to look after your inner as well as your outer self.’

As new wellbeing trends are landing all the time, we explore how everything from hygge to wabi-sabi (more of which later), can help us harness the feel-good factor in our beauty routines.

Still-life Pixeleyes

Hygge-up your bath time

Need to release your stress valve? Hygge encourages us to appreciate the moment and be more mindful – and 15 minutes in the bath could give you the chance to embrace it. ‘A soak at the end of the day can help to quiet any mental chatter, especially if you’re able to focus on the ritual of it and the sensations you feel to help bring you into the present moment,’ says Nicola. Here are some tactics to try:

Turn off and tune out

‘This may well be your only window for me-time, so lock the bathroom door and leave your phone outside to avoid putting temptation in your way,’ urges make-up artist-turned-psychotherapist Lee Pycroft.

Lighten up

The Happiness Research Institute’s studies show that 28% of Danes light candles every day. The Wax Lyrical RHS Lavender Boxed Candle* will add a spa-like ambiance to any room. This gorgeous, long-lasting candle combines cool lavender top notes with a hint of fresh chamomile to really bring out the aroma.

Head space

Get the mind and beauty benefits of investing time in your haircare. Massage your scalp with the Denman Shower & Massage Brush before shampooing. As well as helping you relax, it stimulates hair follicles and encourages blood circulation to your roots, ensuring maximum nutrients are delivered to growing hair. Next, apply a hair mask and wrap your head in a warm towel – the heat opens up the hair cuticle, allowing the product to sink in more easily. Plus, you’ll feel as snug as a bug!

"Concentrating on the more holistic, self-care element of even the most basic parts of your beauty routine can help you feel calmer and more centred"

Drop the pressure

‘Apply new Champneys Professional Collection Calming Temple Balm to your temples, then slowly rotate your middle fingers on your temples to the count of 20,’ suggests Nicola. ‘Working in small, circular motions helps ease and release pressure and pain, aiding a better night’s sleep.’

Breathe easy

Making your ‘out’ breath longer than your ‘in’ breath instantly calms the nervous system and centres the mind. ‘Try inhaling the scent of your products before using them,’ says Nicola. Breathe in the patchouli, chamomile and lemongrass aroma of Champneys Professional Collection Revitalising Face Mask for an instant uplift.

Be grateful

A study by the University of California found that keeping a gratitude journal for just nine weeks left participants feeling more positive about their lives. So make a gratitude list while you soak in the tub, thinking of three things you’re thankful for in that moment, no matter how trivial (Warm toes? Tick).

Photography Shutterstock

Lagom your beauty routine

Coming hot on hygge’s heels is the Scandinavian philosophy of lagom. Translated as ‘just the right amount’, it’s all about simplifying and streamlining. And it makes a lot of sense when it comes to skincare. We’re all guilty of slathering on every product in our arsenal to solve those ‘meh’ skin days, but Nicola notes, ‘Your skin will only take on what it needs, so you’re wasting money if you’re applying too much.’ She suggests being more prescriptive instead: ‘Step out of your routine and take 30 seconds to really study your skin in the mirror and pay attention to what it’s telling you.’ Is it dehydrated? Then opt for a hydrating serum. Congested? Switch to a gel cleanser. Fine lines and wrinkles? Reach for a product with hyaluronic acid, or a collagen cream. Not only is this smart for our skin, but it gives us a moment to connect with ourselves. ‘Taking just a few minutes to apply our skincare is a small but important space in our busy lives to ground ourselves – and it helps us see what our body needs to help revitalise it,’ Nicola adds. Spot that you’re looking tired? Take that as a sign you need to schedule an early night, and not that you need to layer on more eye cream.

Adopt a wabi-sabi mindset

The new wellness trend on the block (OK, it’s actually hundreds of years old) is the ancient Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi. No, it’s not a sushi side dish, but the practice of focusing on accepting the imperfect, flaws and all. Your morning mirror time actually offers you the ideal opportunity to check in with yourself – and learn to love your body. Lee Pycroft is pioneering the idea of conscious beauty and recommends this ritual: ‘Start by looking in the mirror and noting what thoughts it provokes,’ she says. If they’re negative, such as, ‘I look tired’, ‘hello, drab skin’, or ‘ugh, where did those lines come from?’, then replace them with something more empowering. ‘Create positive intent and focus on what you want to happen. As you apply your mascara, ask what you want to see today. As you slick on your lipstick, ask yourself what you want to say. Don’t allow yourself to be emotionally hijacked,’ says Lee. ‘It takes practice, but you’ll notice how you can train yourself into a different mindset.’

De-clutter your kit

Being surrounded by oceans of potions might sound like beauty heaven but, actually, it can be stressful opening your bathroom cabinet to shelves of half-used bottles and jars. So it’s time to lagom your beauty bag and swap overcrowding for a considered collection, with these multi-tasking buys…

*Never leave a burning candle unattended