We talk to Glamour Beauty Director Alessandra Steinherr about her favourite Space NK finds, her Insta-famous Sunday night ritual and her ingenious methods for product testing…
The Wind Down
I tend to work on my website on Sundays but because I know I have my reward at the end of the day, I’m really focused and productive. Then around 5pm I’ll be like, ok, that’s it. Because I do the Sunday facial on my Instagram channel there is a structure to it, but I’ve always done it on a Sunday afternoon since I was a teenager. Back then it was my way to feel like a grown up, but as I’ve got older it’s what I call my ‘me’ time. Most women probably can relate but we never put ourselves first, whether you have children, husband, job, family, whatever it is, it always comes before you. So the Sunday facial is for me personally, non-negotiable. Really the Sunday evening routine is much more than just skin, it’s about the soul and about taking time out and reconnecting with yourself. I do try and do it wherever I am, although I won’t lie, if I’m jet-lagged to hell, it will be a shorter version!
I’m a bit of a candle hoarder, I’ve been collecting Diptyque candles for years. It’s an expensive habit, I’m obsessed. For around the house I love Amber and Coriander but it changes depending on what room and what season I’m in. I love Byredo Tree House too. I think when you put that candle on it just takes everything down a notch. I’m way too hyperactive to meditate but candles put me in that calm space.
Skincare is such a confusing place for women, there is so much information that can leave you baffled. I try and share my knowledge and even though I do it on Instagram, it’s still self-care. I still think the secret to great skin is consistency and routine, it’s that repetitive stuff. Having professional treatments is more like the fine-tuning but the routine I have at home is the mainstay. My Sunday night skincare routine is a just a more in depth version of what I do every day.
On a Sunday my routine is very prescriptive and changes depending on what I feel my skin needs. That said I also want to show people new products and explain them. I love a lot of the By Terry range and I will always always use something with hyaluronic acid in it. It’s one of those things I find really works and gives you those instant results and that plump, glowy look. I always use some kind of mask too, I do love my sheet masks. I love doing them because you have to leave it on for a little bit and you can’t jump around, so really it’s a good excuse to lie down for a little bit. I love the Sarah Chapman Skinesis 3D Moisture Infusion Masks, there’s a reason they’re so popular. Honestly, you put one on and take it off and it actually looks like you’ve had a professional treatment, it’s out of control. On a Sunday I will always include some sort of exfoliant. I’m not somebody who uses acid everyday, my skin is too delicate. I like Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peels, for me those are core. My philosophy is about protecting the skin barrier. I think there is such a thing as over cleansing and over acid-ing because then your skin barrier becomes compromised. As soon as I see redness or feel products stinging it means my skin is irritated and inflamed. I guess I know how to judge what my skin needs and doesn’t.
I don’t tend to wear make-up on the weekends so I skip my weekday double cleanse and eye make-up cleanse and just use one cleanser. I’m not great at massaging my own face but I do get blocked sinuses quite a lot and around my eyes I can get quite puffy, so on a Sunday I do try to push some pressure points. I’ll take it back to my ears as that’s where your lymph glands are. I’m not the best at it, but I do try to apply products in an upward motion, as that’s what I have learnt. People always ask me about eye creams. I recently discovered the Acyl Gluthathione Eye Lid Serum from MD Perricone. Most eye creams focus on underneath the eye and darkness and wrinkles, but because I have my sinus issues, my issue is more my eyelids. There are very few products that address the eyelids, but it’s one of those areas that people don’t think about until it’s too late.
I do like using the Nuface device. I like it because it gives you that temporary lift but it’s the consistency thing that I struggle with. I do it on a Sunday but I’m a bit too lazy with it. So many facialists I respect, say that it works but you have to keep it up. When I do use it it’s around my cheekbones and above my brow to give myself a tiny lift.
I often tan for the week on a Sunday and I generally up my exfoliation in the summer. I like a good salt based scrub in the shower or I use the Ameliorate Smoothing Body Exfoliant, which is great and especially good for people who have flaky skin issues as it contains lactic acid. I like something that softens the skin and I like neutral scents. Oh, and I’m love with the smell of Byredo Gypsy Water Body Wash.
I always tan at night because I don’t want to be sticky. I use Vita Liberata 2-3 Week Phenomenal Mousse in Medium but I don’t put that on my face, instead I use Sisley Self-Tanning Hydrating Facial Skincare. I’m an all-over tanner, I’ve tried doing just the bits that are out, but genuinely tanning is about how I feel, and when I have an all-over tan I just feel more confident; nobody sees my butt or tummy in London but it’s about my own confidence. Anyway I use the Vita Liberata three nights in a row and the colour is amazing.
On the Sundays when I don’t tan I love a good moisturiser. I am so religious about it. For years I think I neglected my body a bit, you know, you spend all that time and money on your face and then you forget about your body. Now I’m really good and I will use different moisturisers like Kiehl’s Creme de Corps and Sisley Restorative Body Cream. I don’t like oils though, plus they tend to take tan off. I never take a bath, never ever. It’s a time thing, I like to be in and out, and I get bored in a bath. I do have a bathtub and have candles all around it but I never go in! The only time I do is after I exercise when my body aches. Other than that I’m 100% a shower girl, always have been. As soon as I get out the shower I put my robe on, I like a big towelling robe and I potter around while I’m drying and make a herbal tea.
I’m not so regimented with my hair. I had really long hair and then I cut it short about a year and a half ago. Having short hair is the biggest pain when you have wavy hair because you can’t just wash and go. I’d love to wash and go. For work I need it to be blow dried, because it just looks better, but on the weekends I love to just wash my hair, condition it, put a leave-in product through the ends – I love anything from Christophe Robin. Then I comb it through and let it air dry. On a Sunday I do a mask and because I have colour in my hair, I have balyage and I use a lot of heat on it, I need something super nourishing. During the week dry shampoo is my best friend. I love the Ouai Dry Shampoo.
I’m a really good sleeper but I think it’s because I really wind down before bedtime. I try to get to bed before 11pm and it’s usually even earlier on a Sunday. When my routine is done I peel away the covers – I have a rose linen spray which makes me just feel so happy – and then I use the By Terry Baume de Rose Hand Cream and some cuticle oil. I also love This Works Sleep Plus Pillow Spray, I don’t think there’s anything better; it’s insurance for getting a good night’s sleep. If I have to test retinol products or acids that are a bit too strong for my face, I use them on the backs of my hands before bed. It’s also great for anti-ageing my hands, which is something I definitely neglect.
I don’t have any stimulating scents in my bedroom so the candles in there are usually something relaxing like This Works Deep Sleep Heavenly Candle or Aromatherapy Associates Relax Candle, nothing too herbal but very comforting.
Every night before I turn my lights out I go through the day in my head and focus on the good things that have happened. I don’t meditate but I do think about what I’m grateful for and think about the next day and why it’s going to be a good day. It helps me go to bed without any resentment and think about what was great rather than what went wrong.
I’m an early riser, getting up early is my happy place. I don’t use an alarm, I don’t need to, I just wake up. I generally need about seven hours sleep, more is worse than less for me. If I sleep too much I’m puffy and slow and sluggish. My phone gets charged in the kitchen and I put the alarm on my phone on full volume but I always get up before it goes off, it’s an inbuilt thing. I jump out of bed because if I don’t get up as soon as I wake up, I’m done for. The first thing I do I drink two glasses of water, that’s non-negotiable. I add apple cider vinegar in one, just one spoon, which was something my granny used to do. When I do work out it’s first thing, but I live next to a park and so usually go out for a walk at 6am. I try and walk for between 30-40 minutes, that’s my type of meditation.