My approach to nights like these is heavy on the indulgence. I say if you're going to really take the time to relax and look after yourself, there's no half-assing it. This is the time for all those expensive products you save for special occasions*, flipping through the magazines you don't usually have time for, and turning off your phone--go all out, people, because it's all about you you you.
*That's definitely not to say that you couldn't have an equally satisfying experience with cheaper products, but using the more luxurious stuff tends to make these nights a bit more special. It can also be a good time to try some new items, though, and an even better time to use up your samples!
So light some candles, grab yourself a steaming mug of
The Bath (because there must be a bath): A good long bath is really what distinguishes a pamper night from all others, because, really, who has the time to sit in the non-efficient tub? But it's absolutely the ultimate at-home solution for stress and tension, and I find that I always emerge with looser shoulders and a calmer state of mind.
Lush bath products are ridiculously overpriced, so I just buy a few and save them for special pamper nights. Toss them in when the water's running, and then I round up all my fragrant bath and shower products and squeeze in generous amounts. Like haphazard cocktail making, I just chuck anything I want into the tub (gels, salts, oils, creams) for a delicious and fragrant bath. We all know long, hot soapy baths dry out the skin like no other, so throw in a good amount of a moisturizing agent for some much-needed hydration. I like the Olay In-Shower Body Lotion (sadly discontinued) but use whatever you like and make sure to run the shower when you're done so the tub isn't slick!.
I consistently overlook exfoliation, so pamper night is a great time to smooth out my scaly legs and body. I like to scrub away around halfway through my bath when the novelty wears off and I start to get bored. =)
The Hair: I love a deep conditioning hair mask, and on pamper nights I cocktail my products again and mix together scoops of my favorite conditioners, treatments and oils. It's definitely not meant for the fine of hair (geddit?!), and can leave my hair a bit flat the next day, but you won't believe the hydration it delivers. Pop a shower cap on and throw a towel over your pillow to keep the treatment going all night, or rinse it out if you prefer. Either way, fabulously hydrated hair awaits!
The Skincare: Remember, the ultimate goal is indulgence (and a refreshed body and mind!) so remove anything express from your typical skincare routine. No wipes, no ignoring that extra bit of mascara you didn't quite get off--pampering cannot be rushed!
If you're wearing makeup, melt it all away with a rich cream cleanser or lightweight oil and really make the most of the opportunity for a little facial massage. Feel free to cleanse twice or switch to a different cleanser.
Exfoliating my face is another thing I skip too often, and taking the time to do it not only creates a brighter complexion, but will result in better effects of the next step.
Then it's time for (all together now!) an asian sheet mask. I've mentioned these so many times now, but they really make your skin look refreshed, hydrated and glowy. Obviously, you could do any mask you like: a cream moisturizing one, clay-based, or peel-off...etc, so use whatever you like. You could also throw on a pair of under-eye patches so that area isn't neglected either, but for some reason, I never pair them with a sheet mask. [Making a mental note to try it next time!]
From here, it's just a matter of whatever serums, eye cream and moisturizer you want to use. You'll have seen most of these in my Skincare Saviors post, so feel free to reference that for more information on the products.
The Bodycare: After exfoliating in the tub, your skin should feel amazing and fresh, so now's the time to really give it some love to keep that feeling going. Spring for an oil if you like, but I prefer body butters for this time of year. My favorite of this group is the CeraVe (you know I love their lotion). This stuff really sinks in and hydrates but fully absorbs in a matter of minutes (we're talking 2-5). It even leaves a bit of a powdery finish, so there's no stickiness or aversion to pulling on clothing. Did I mention it's dermatologist recommended? (Both on the label and from my own dermatologist!)
The Final Touches: A good lip balm, a lactic acid lotion and socks to make feet look like new (you know how much I love this!), and see how many minutes you can get into Love Actually without falling asleep.
Because all that pampering and relaxing not only guarantees a beautifully restored body and mind, but a glorious night of sleep, too! (Bonus points if you use a sleep/tranquility sounds app!)
Hope you all have a chance to take some time for yourself!