Journalist, makeup artist, blogger and host of top beauty podcast, Beauty Full Lives, Madeleine Spencer, aka @madeleinelovesthis, has a wealth of beauty knowledge – and not a lot of down time. With this is mind we asked her to share her secrets for switching off and winding down at the weekend…
The Wind Down
I firmly believe that relaxation and enjoyment are essential to feeling and looking beautiful, so my entire Sunday could really be classed as a beauty routine because I try to fill it with people who make me happy and activities that stimulate me intellectually or which I find comforting. I try to make sure all my planning and admin is done before lunchtime on Sunday, so I can spend the rest of the day as I please without any pesky ’to do’ lists playing on my mind. I’ll walk my dog, Monty, who’s a beagle/pointer I adopted from the Wild At Heart Foundation and after he’s been to the park for a long run, I get in and start to cook a simple dinner, which I find really cathartic (provided I’m in no hurry!). After eating dinner, I tend to lean towards comfort, so generally have a long bath (that’s where the products come in) and watch something on the TV (occasionally something zeitgeist-y, more often a soothing film like One Fine Day or My Fair Lady; there is something about the familiarity of watching a film I know well and love which I find eminently soothing), before going to bed and reading until my eyes shut. If I can start my evening like this, I’m 100% relaxed, which always has the knock-on effect of making my skin better and me more glowing in general. There’s a huge aromatherapeutic element to my Sunday evening. I like to light scented candles, lace my bath with Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax Bath & Shower Oil, spritz some Jo Loves Rose Petal 25 onto the comfy clothes I slip on after my bath, and spray my De Mamiel Soothe Sleep Series onto my hands and take a good, deep breath before I start reading. I’m a huge fan of candles. I love everything about them from the gentle sound of the wick cracking and spluttering, to the scent being thrown out in puffs, to the flickering light. I’ll often light a Diptyque one at the start of the evening, and I tend to keep the empty jars once they’re finished to use as make-up brush holders/plant pots/etc.
My beauty routine always happens between my upstairs bathroom and bedroom, and I go between the two slathering liberally, dancing appallingly, and enjoying myself immensely.
I love music. I’ve got eclectic tastes so it’s likely that you’d find me listening to Kylie Minogue if I’m energetic, Tchaikovsky when I’m absorbed in a task, or Elvis when I’m feeling contemplative. I also love The Beatles, ABBA, The Killers, The Strokes, Wham!, Leonard Cohen, and I listen to loads of soundtracks. I tend to wash my hair on a Sunday morning and like to take the opportunity to add a good dose of hydration. After shampooing, I’ll pop a hair mask in – Virtue Restorative Treatment Mask is great – and I’ll leave it on for as long as possible. Alternatively, I sometimes make my hair damp first thing in the morning and add the mask before washing it out at around midday. I can’t bear wet hair on my neck so find leaving my hair to air dry almost impossible unless it’s scorching out. I usually wrap it up in an Aquis Hair Towel after showering, then dry on low heat until it’s 80% dry, before twisting it on either side of my head, securing with bands, and letting it take the waves while I relax.
I’ll always use a face mask or scrub before my bath like Oskia Micro Exfoliating Balm, then pop on something that’ll make the surface of my skin bouncy like Dr Sebagh Rose de Vie Hydrating Mask and lounge around with it on. Once it’s off, I like to use a tanning mist to add a bit of glow – Oskia’s is lovely and produces a beautiful shade. I’ve got a bit of a thing about my body feeling soft and in good condition. I start before my bath by body brushing with Aromatherapy Associates Polishing Body Brush and I’ll then scrub a second time with Ameliorate Body Exfoliant in the bath. A bath always feels like a treat. I love Aromatherapy Associates products and their Deep Relax Bath Oil blend is a favourite. Out of the bath I’ll use two body moisturisers – first, a layer of Sarah Chapman Overnight Body Treatment, and then a thin layer of Aromatherapy Associates Enrich Body Butter to really lock the hydration in. I’ll also massage in a hand cream (I love This Works Perfect Hands Intense Moisture), lip balm (By Terry Baume de Rose is gorgeous), and a mist of a skin spray like Caudalie Beauty Elixir. I use ENDLESS lotions and potions – but they all have a targeted purpose.
I like to stretch right before I get into bed, and I find aromatherapy a very effective cue for relaxation, so I’m pretty diligent about using something to remind my body that it’s time to sleep. I’ll apply some De Mamiel Soothe Sleep Series onto my hands and take a good, deep breath or spray a pillow mist onto my bed linen and then take a deep breath. I always have a book on the go and read it before I go to sleep. There’s something about physically holding a book rather than a smart device that I find relaxing, and I always try to read for at least half an hour before falling asleep, usually at around 10pm. I’m a good sleeper. I sometimes wake at around 4am but that tends to happen only during very busy periods if I’m really stressed. If I am struggling to sleep, I either turn to the Calm app for a bedtime story, or an app called BW Studio, which uses isochronic waves designed to help the brain unwind.
I don’t set my alarm as I wake up naturally at around 6:30am every day, and if I oversleep even slightly, Monty comes in and makes noises to tell me that it’s time for his walk. I jump out of bed – provided I don’t pick my phone up before I am up. I try not to as I don’t like scrolling through social media before I’m at my desk if I can resist. I stretch my shoulders, spray an aromatherapy mist into my bedroom, and make my bed. I take a shot of Symprove every morning, as well as omegas and B vitamins as I’m a vegetarian. I love herbal tea and often drink Pukka, Teapigs, and Yogi Tea blends. I used to really struggle with Sunday evenings when younger – they felt like a sad ending, and I’d feel nervous about the week ahead. I consciously decided to tackle that by building in things I really enjoyed, hence my routine. It’s really had a notable effect, and I now try to look at each day as its own challenge, rather than as a block week which can be daunting.