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How Trying New Skincare And Beauty Products Got Me Back Into Self-Care Amidst Shaky Mental Health

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Now that we’re smack in the middle of the festive-heavy part of our Indian social calendar, I’ve convinced myself to switch from being the lazy girl to the precocious lady who has ‘day and night regimes’ for her skin and hair. How very influencer of me, no? Well, jokes aside, we all know how difficult it has been for these past 1.5 years to find motivation for accomplishing even the most basic tasks because of our mental health. So, anything that can get me excited enough to infuse some routine back into my life? I was game. And recently, I found just that. I got to try out some pretty interesting offerings from a myriad of indie skincare and haircare brands. And somehow, that got me back into some much needed self-care that I had been ignoring for a while. And since it is World Mental Health Day on October 10, I wanted to tell you all about it, in the hopes that something might click for you too!

Let’s dive in!

Make bath time your spa time

When your mental health is compromised, one of the first things that gets hit is personal hygiene. You’d rather sit and watch that Vampire Diaries episode for the millionth time than motivate yourself to go take a shower. What helped me overcome this barrier was making bath time kind of like a relaxing spa-time that I could really enjoy.

I decided to bring in with me these newly launched handmade Ayurveda bathing bars from Nourish Mantra. They come in two variants: Cardamom & Mint and Turmeric & Citrus, and are supposed to be soothing and nourishing. The fragrance was a bit strong, but my skin did feel really nice post the shower. They do dissolve pretty easily in water so make sure you use water judiciously.

Image: Nourish Mantra | Instagram

But the point is to really enjoy this me-time in the bath, without overdoing it (like those Instagram reels where the girl uses some 10 products in the shower before a date!) so that it doesn’t make you feel like you’ve a lot to do. Baby steps!

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Mane care on main

Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt personally victimised by your hair wash schedule. Especially if you, like me, have long hair that takes forever to wash, and then an eternity to dry. My colour-treated hair had gotten quite dry (I went a deep wine red in March!) and I really needed to bring back some moisture and get rid of all the frizz from too much heat styling. Honestly, a bad hair day does more damage to my mood than anything else.

Faith & Patience really brought their A-game with their camel milk hair care range. It’s the first of its kind in India, with its use of camel milk, which is supposed to be rich in Vitamin C, Omega 3 and protein, and natural ingredients. But what really intrigued me was that the brand also contributes to a camel conservation project in Rajasthan and its products have recyclable packaging. Cool, no?

Image: Faith & Patience

I have been using their Camel On Trend shampoo, which actually works specifically on my hair concern of dryness and frizziness, but can be used for a variety of concerns, as per the information on its packaging. I follow it up with the Camel In Tahiti deep conditioner, and both these products helped in bringing some softness and reduced frizz in my hair.

But but but… I am the most impressed by their Hair Growth Therapy Refillable Oil Shots. Ahem… lazy girl here who barely even oils her hair. But this one comes with a bottle of oil (which is a mix of soooo many oils, from Calendula to Jojoba and Castor) and a small refillable tube of 10 ml, which you can fill up with a shot from the main bottle every time you want to oil. That way you don’t over or under use it!

I’ve legit gone from never oiling my hair to oiling it at least twice a week, and the difference in my mane is quite visible. It is much more tame, knots lesser than before and the hair fall due to dryness is steadily reducing. *Tears*

Also Read: Athiya Shetty’s Skincare Ritual For Healthy, Glowing Skin Will Literally Take You Less Than A Minute. And, Just One Ingredient!

Customised skincare that puts you first when no one else does

With the pandemic came the lockdown. With the lockdown came the weight gain. And with the weight gain came the hormonal changes that brought some unwelcome friends—acne. Sigh. It has been quite a test of willpower to stick to routines during these times of volatile mental health and mood swings. Some days, I’m like Madelaine Petsch aka Cheryl Blossom from Riverdale, with a 33-step skincare routine, lighting candles and doing sheet masks et al. And other days, I couldn’t care less if I even washed my face before going to bed.

Now imagine if at such a time, in your lap drops a skincare range that is customised according to your skin’s needs and concerns. I jumped at the chance to try SkinKraft, which offers India’s first AI-driven dermatologically-approved, customized skincare solutions. They rely heavily on deep analytics of the data derived from you, the customer, to create something specific for you. I just shared a few basic details about me, my skin, my lifestyle and so on, and I received a three-step routine that should work for me.

I’m currently using a cleanser to control sebum, a spot treatment for my acne, and a barrier repair serum that helps maintain the moisture in my skin. Normally, a skincare routine takes at least a month to actually work and show results, so I shall keep you posted! But it’s looking good so far, my skin feels great, the acne is starting to get under control, and the best part is I am looking after my skin. And skincare is the best self-care, no?

Image: Writer’s own

A trick I picked up from model, skincare expert and content creator Cassandra Bankson (who picked it up from a book about habits) is that if you feel you’re too lazy to actually do something, make sure you customise your environment to make it easier to build a habit. Or you could even attach this task to a task you do every day. The SkinKraft kit is compact enough for me to keep at my bedside table so I don’t forget to use it. And I cannot wait to see the results!

Time to break the dull monotony by popping out in colour

Skin? Done. Hair? Done. And now for them final touches. With restaurants opening, cinema halls due to soon, and Navratri being upon us, I looked forward to stepping out and breaking the monotony. In the spirit of that, I realised it was time to rid my makeup drawer of all the expired products. My heart wrenched to throw out some of the stuff, but I guess it is time for something new, and preferably mask-friendly.

Image: Ilana

Also Read: This Product From Ilana Is Perfect For Your Under Eye Problems

I’m more of a darker shade wearer in everything, from clothes to blush to lip colour. I’d never tried a lip or cheek tint before because I thought it wouldn’t really show up on my skin tone. Currently, though I have been wearing the Pop Tint from Ilana with pomegranate extracts, for Zoom calls and casual days out. I use it on my cheek, and it gives me a very light, natural flush. And I am actually liking it… which surprised me even! I still go for a darker lip though, but the light cheek stain then complements it well.

Of course, this journey to pull yourself back into a routine or motivated to keep up with even the most mundane everyday tasks, like maintaining your skincare regime, is not this easy for everyone. Along with trying new things, I’ve also begun to move around a lot if not properly exercise, set loud reminders to drink water every hour, and read before bed. To help with my emotions, I also try and journal every morning and night using some pretty stationery just to get it all my thoughts in order.

What do you try to get yourself out of a lull? Let me know!

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