Treat your skin to a home spa experience with Abigail James
Top aesthetician Abigail James reveals how to give your skin an in-spa experience at home
Business may have (almost) returned to normal in 2021, but rejoining the world hasn’t been without its stresses. Now that the year is coming to a close, why not take a little time out to pamper your complexion? We’ve enlisted the help of top aesthetician and all-round skin whisperer Abigail James to elevate your skincare routine.
The urge to pick those pimples that inevitably make their appearance at times of stress can be almost irresistible, but Abigail recommends a strictly hands-off approach. ‘Breakouts can be connected to stress,’ she explains. ‘This can lead to our bodies releasing more stress hormones, which can have an impact on the sebum production within our skin.’ Abigail’s advice? Don't squeeze! (The only exception being if it has a white head on it). ‘Apply something antibacterial to the spot such as tea tree or look for skincare products that contain salicylic acid which you can apply with a cotton bud once every hour. I always apply an ice compress too in order to ease inflammation. Simply wrap an icecube in tissue, dampen just slightly then press onto the area for 5-20 seconds and repeat if necessary.’
Treat your skin to some TLC with nourishing, cosseting formulas that drench it in moisture. This time of year plays havoc with our skin as central heating and cold weather zap the surface. Add in extra sweets and wine consumed in lockdown and it’s no wonder skin feels dry and dull. Combat that with ultra-hydrating hyaluronic acid as well as barrier-boosting omega acids and ceramides. Now is also the perfect time for pampering sheet masks, hydrating mists, soothing probiotic blends and calming overnight face masks to leave your skin feeling plump and juicy.
Home spa rituals
Creating a soothing, indulgent atmosphere when applying your lotions and potions is a great way to lower cortisol levels and ensure you get a good night’s sleep. ‘I’m a huge fan of breathing techniques,’ says Abigail who recommends ritualising your beauty regime for maximum skin gains. ‘Start by focusing on your breath for one to three minutes, inhaling for a slow count of five before exhaling for a slow count of eight.’ The longer exhalation is key, Abigail explains, as it stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system in order to counteract our fight or flight response.
‘Facial massage is another brilliant way to boost your complexion while easing your mind,’ adds Abigail. ‘Even adding in a few neck stretches with your eyes closed is great for easing tension.’
Abigail James’ ultimate skincare routine
‘Start with a double cleanse using a balm as your first step,’ advises Abigail. ‘Once you have taken a little time to really massage it into the skin, rinse and follow with a face wash. Next, I would use an acid exfoliating tonic, followed by an enzyme mask before applying a hydrating mask ensuring that you incorporate the décolleté too. For skincare, layer a hyaluronic acid serum over a brightening vitamin C serum before applying a nourishing eye cream and plumping moisturiser. For an evening prep I would do a face massage for five to ten minutes followed by a gentle wash, a brightening mask, a hyaluronic serum and some sort of probiotic skin boost.’